What is Django?

DjangoA lot of people just getting into Web development want to know what Django is, and to understand what this popular and powerful Web framework does, it helps to know a little about a software design pattern called model-view-controller, or MVC. This pattern is the most common software design approach used for application programming because it consists of data that a user interacts with through a user interface. The model is the data, the view is the interface and the controller is a programming abstraction that communicates between the model and the view.

How Does Django Work?

Django is a Web application framework, based on the Python programming language, that uses a special MVC pattern called model-template-view, or MTV, according to Django. This pattern is almost the same as MVC except that the controller is called the view and the view is called the template. Django’s developers’ explanation for this distinction is that the distinguishing factor of the view is the data it displays, not its style, and because Web application interfaces are also called templates, Django uses this word for the view in MVC. This pattern may sound complicated at first, but once you understand the concept of separating code into layers of abstraction, it’s not hard to understand because there are only three layers working together.

The reason software code is separated into layers is that it makes debugging and maintenance much easier and offers programmers flexibility in upgrading components one at a time. In Django, the three layers are the data model, the template interface and the view code that queries the databases and calls up URLs. The data layer contains the databases of a website, and Django is compatible with SQLite, PostgreSQL, MySQL and Oracle. The template layer contains all the code that defines the application interface, and while this layer usually contains HTML, CSS and JavaScript, Django has its own template language based on these languages. It can be used for Web applications as well as desktop application interfaces. The view code uses programming functions called regular expressions, or regex patterns, to search for data in the model, such as page URLs, user information or any other data stored in a database.

What Does Django Do?

Essentially, Django is an alternative to PHP programming and other database-driven Web programming frameworks. In the early days of the Internet, websites were simply static pages that displayed the same information every time a user landed on them, unless the administrator edited the HTML code. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, dynamic websites started becoming more common as e-commerce and user-generated content began to dominate the Web.

Dynamic websites are Web applications that store information in database tables and display different information based on a user’s interaction with the template. For example, consider the two Django-powered websites Pinterest and Instagram. A user enters a term in the search box or clicks an image, and Django queries a database table for the page it links to and all the images and text on the page.

Related Resource: Web Development

Without databases, websites like Pinterest, eBay, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu wouldn’t be possible, and without frameworks like Django, websites couldn’t serve up information from databases. To get a better understanding of what Django is, beginning programmers should follow the Django tutorial on the Django website.