Which is the Best Web Application Framework? Django vs. Laravel

Author
Jason Martin
Web Application Frameworks: Django vs. Laravel

Django vs. Laravel

Application development is a long, complicated process. Lucky for all of us, talented developers have banded together to create powerful web application frameworks (WAF) in order to simplify things. These frameworks save developers time and effort by allowing them to build on proven code rather than starting from scratch.

Choosing a framework for your application is like building the foundation for your home. It’s going to need to support everything you plan to create, so it’s important to get it right. The framework you choose will have its implications (good or bad) throughout the life of your application.

The problem is that there’s enough contrasting and biased information on the internet to keep you confused for weeks. Our URL gives our opinion away real quick – we’re a development company and enthusiasts of the Django framework – but we’re going to leave our views aside and focus on the facts in this article. We’ve had great success building apps with Django, but wouldn’t suggest that every application should be built using one framework.

The truth is, both Django and Laravel have enthusiasts that could convince you of either, but you should make your decision based on your needs and what kind of application you’re going to create. Here we’ll provide some basic information that actually makes this a pretty simple decision.

History of Django and Laravel

First, it’s important to understand the history of each framework.

In 2003, a group of developers decided to ditch PHP and adopt Python as their main development language. Their goal was to create a framework optimized for rapid, agile production in order to create versatile applications. They named this framework Django after Jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. 15 years later, their success speaks for itself. The framework has a thriving community and supports top websites and applications such as Instagram, NASA, The Washington Post, EventBrite, Pinterest, and more.

Laravel came along in 2011, about eight years after Django. Rather than ditching PHP like the Django creators did, they built a new solution to solve the problems (such as routing and authentication) with PHP frameworks of the time. Although it’s relatively young, Laravel has quickly become the most popular PHP framework and supports top websites such as Startups.co, Toyota Hall of Fame, and RV Camping World. It’s also created an impressive community (such as the Laracasts) who are enthusiastic and dedicated to the framework.

This infographic from SimiliarTech shows the market share across the web for both Django and Laravel. As you can see, they both support top websites.

Market share of Django and Laravel

 

Languages: Python vs. PHP

Django is a framework for writing code in Python, while Laravel is a framework for PHP. This means that the real question might be “Would you rather have an application built on Python or PHP?”

Here are some pros, cons, and characteristics of each development language.

 

PYTHON PHP
  • Very popular scripting language
  • Generally considered to be one of the most beloved languages by programmers
  • One of the easier languages to learn, but most say it’s more difficult than PHP
  • Built for simplicity, versatility, and to be easy to read (it leaves behind the syntax used by other languages). This means fewer lines of easier to read code, which will drive down maintenance costs.
  • The language of choice for large scale, versatile, and flexible applications. For example, Python isn’t limited to web development. iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile all have ports or frameworks for integration with Python.
  • Applications written in Python are considered to be some of the safest.
  • The most popular scripting language PHP is used by over 80% of websites, which means there is a large base of developers experienced with PHP
  • Generally considered to be one of the most hated languages by programmers.
  • One of the easiest languages to learn
  • Stands for personal home page, and was built specifically for graphical web pages and interfaces. This gives it an edge with simple web applications such as blogs (wordpress is a PHP platform, for example). These would also be easier and more cost effective to develop with PHP.
  • Limited to web development.
  • PHP has had critical security vulnerabilities in the past, and is considered harder to secure

 

When you consider these factors, the decision starts to become clear – for simple web applications, the availability of PHP developers and the simplicity of the language give PHP the edge. For more powerful and versatile applications, Python is more dynamic and the language of choice. (here’s another great article discussing Python vs. PHP)

When to Use Django or Laravel

We could go much more in depth on pros and cons of each framework, but in the end it tends to come down to preference and opinion. For example:

  • Development costs. One could make the argument that Laravel will cost less because PHP is more popular and has more developers who are less expensive, but could also argue that Python is a cleaner language with less lines of code, driving down long term maintenance costs for Django projects
  • Security really comes down to the code rather than the language or framework, although you can argue that one language or another is more complicated and therefore more probable to cause a mistake.
  • Each framework has a thriving community with amazing resources. There’s no clear winner here either.

Get what we’re saying? There’s no clear winner in most categories. In the end, it really comes down to what you’re trying to build.

If you want to develop a simple site for communication, such as a blog or website, Laravel is the clear winner. It integrates well with popular PHP applications (such as WordPress) and was developed for these simple web pages, which is apparent in its name – Personal Home Page. Laravels website boasts the tagline “The PHP Framework for Artisans”, which also suggests that its more for simple web pages and aesthetics than complex functionality. With Laravel, you’ll be able to get your simple application up and running faster with lower development costs.

As for powerful applications, such as a CRM, Django is your framework of choice. It’s more scalable, which explains why more top 10,000 websites use Django than any other framework. Python is a clean, versatile language that will enable you to build much more dynamic applications with an extended list of possibilities, such as mobile side development. You’ll cultivate a cleaner code base that will be easier to maintain and scale in the long run.

There’s a lot of different opinions and preferences pertaining to each framework, but it’s really as easy as this: Simple applications = Laravel and PHP. Complex, dynamic applications = Django and Python.

If you decide that your custom software needs to be more complex and powerful, please reach out to us! We are a team of expert developers specializing in the Django framework and would love to consult with you about creating a dynamic, powerful application.