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Django Tutorial: Learn DJango from Scratch

Django is a Python-based, high-level web development framework offering standard methods for effective website development and maintenance. With the primary goal of creating complex, database-driven websites with a clean and pragmatic design, Django offers readymade components for the rapid development of web applications with minimum code involvement. 

In this Python Django tutorial for beginners, we’ll look at basic Django concepts like Django history, features, architecture, components, and installation. 

History of Django

Adrian Holovaty and Simon Willison started Django as an internal project at Lawrence Journal-World Newspaper in 2003. The project was released under the name “Django” in 2005 after the jazz guitarist Django Reinhard. In 2008, Django was declared a registered trademark of the Django Software Foundation, and in 2009, Django v1.1 was released. It had features like translation-based tests and aggregates. More advanced versions of Django were released in the subsequent years. Currently, Django is an open-source project.

Features of Django

In this Django tutorial for beginners, we will now take a look at the features of Django that makes it an excellent framework for web development:

  • Codes in the Django framework are written in Python, which runs on most platforms like Linux, Windows, and Mac OS. This makes Django pretty portable.
  • The Django documentation is one of the best in the market. No doubt it’s so popular among developers!
  • Django offers high scalability. One of the most popular social media platforms with millions of active users, Instagram is a prominent example of Django’s scalability.
  • Django is a highly secure framework. It provides safeguards against attacks like cross-site scripting, SQL injection, cross-site request forgery, remote code execution, and clickjacking.
  • Django is super versatile and can build almost any kind of website. It can work with any client-side framework and deliver content in different formats such as JSON, HTML, XML, etc.
  • Most importantly, Django provides rapid development. It eliminates the need for backend knowledge and separate server files to build a fully functional website.

Read: 7 Top Django Projects on Github [For Beginners & Experienced]

The Django Architecture

The Django architecture is based on the MVC (Model View Controller) software design pattern. In the traditional website designing approach, all codes were written in a single file. The technique was helpful in older times when webpages were primarily static and websites did not contain much multimedia. However, as times changed and websites got more extensive and more advanced, the traditional approach failed to keep up. 

The MVC pattern addresses the drawback of the traditional approach and has different files for different aspects of a website or web application. The MVC architecture has three components: Model, View, and Controller. It helps developers focus on one part of the web application, ensuring better scalability, coding, testing, and debugging.

Model

The model acts as the mediator between the database and the website interface. In more technical terms, the model implements the logic for the application’s data domain. It is the component in the Django architecture that contains Business Logic, the main controller handling the output from the server in the desired format. 

For instance, when we sign up on a website, we send information to the controller component, which transfers it to the models, and which, in turn, stores it in the database after applying business logic.

View

The view component in the Django architecture contains the UI logic and decides which data should be presented. It is the web application’s user interface and includes parts like CSS, HTML, and other front-end technologies. The UI gets content from the model component.

For example, when we interact with any website component, such as clicking on a link, the new web pages generated are actually specific views. 

Controller

The controller is the primary control component in the Django architecture. It handles user interaction and decides a view component based on the model. From the previous examples of model and view, it is pretty clear that the controller selects the different views and transfers the data to the models.

Django architecture

Source

Django uses the term ‘Views’ for ‘Controller’ and ‘Templates’ for ‘Views.’ Thus, you may also find the Django MVC architecture described as Django MVT architecture, an acronym for Model View Template. The template component is the presentation layer that handles the presentation logic and decides what content to display to the user and how. 

Django MVC architecture

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Installing Django and Creating A Basic Project

Before getting started with Django, you need to install both Python and Django on your PC. Given below is a step-by-step Django installation guide:

Step 1: Install Python 3

  • Install Python 3 if you do not already have it on your system. Installing Python 3 should also install the Python package manager pip.
  • For Windows, open the command prompt (terminal prompt for Linux and Mac) and enter the following command:
    python -m pip install -U pip
  • Now, enter the following command to install a virtual environment.
    pip install virtualenv
  • Next, you have to set up the virtual environment.
    Create a virtual environment by giving the command virtualenv env_site
    Use the command cd env_site to change directory to env_site
    Activate the virtual environment by going to the scripts directory inside env_site
    cd Scripts
    activate

Step 2: Install Django and create a basic project

  • To install Django, type in the following command:
    pip install django
  • Now, enter command cd.. to return to the env_site directory.
  • Type the following command to start a project:
    django-admin startproject upgrad_project
  • Change the directory to upgrad_project by using the command:
    cd upgrad_project
  • Start the server by using the following command:
    python manage.py runserver
  • Once you can run the server, go to your browser and type Localhost:8000 in the URL bar. If you have installed Django successfully, you will get a message saying so on the test server page.

Popularity of Django

The Django framework is used for building high-level web-based applications and supports various business processes, including SaaS solutions and eCommerce sites. What makes Django so popular with database-heavy apps is its association with Python and Python’s applications in machine learning. Django allows rapid web development and clean, efficient design. Prominent companies that use Django include Instagram, Mozilla, Disqus, Spotify, National Geographic, YouTube, The Washington Post, Pinterest, etc.

Also Read: Django Applications: Everything You Need to Know About

Conclusion

Django is a Python-based web development framework for building and maintaining web applications. Scalable, versatile, and highly secure, Django makes the web development process a seamless and time-saving experience. 

Apart from fast development, Django adheres to a clean design philosophy throughout its code, making it easy to apply web development best practices. In addition, Django provides a ready-to-use administration GUI, a lightweight web server for end-to-end app development and testing, and has in-built support for RSS, Ajax, etc. It also supports an extensive set of database systems. However, Django cannot handle multiple requests at once.  

In this Django tutorial for beginners, we discussed some fundamental aspects of Django, including installation steps. 

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Way Forward

In this Django tutorial for beginners, we discussed some fundamental aspects of Django, including installation steps. Next, you can proceed to more advanced Django topics.

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1. Is Django good for beginners?

Django is an open-source framework for building websites and web apps. Since Django is Python-based, it is ideal for beginners. Python is one of the best and easiest languages for beginners who are just learning to code. So, if you have Python skills, it’ll be easier for you to use Django.

2. Is Instagram built on Django?

Instagram, one of the largest and most popular social media apps, uses Python on its backend. It boasts of the world’s largest deployment of the Django framework written entirely in Python. Since Instagram involves a high number of user and data interactions in the form of shares, likes, etc., Django is ideal for handling all of it. Other popular apps that run on Django include YouTube, Spotify, Disqus, Dropbox, etc.

3. What is the difference between Django and HTML?

Django is a Python-based framework that offers a fast and easy way to build websites and web applications. On the other hand, HTML is a markup language that dictates the structure and content of a website and can only be used to build static websites. For example, HTML decides if a web page's content should be structured in the form of a list, a set of paragraphs, or data tables and images.

 

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