Python for Web Development: Pros & Cons and Best Frameworks
Python is the programming language of choice for developers around the world, especially due to it offering a clean, simple, and easy way to code alongside being highly scalable or versatile.
Most of us are aware of Python due to its immense popularity, but what kind of a language is it?
Python is a high-level programming language that supports structural, procedural, and functional programming paradigms. It is an interpreted language, unlike C++ or Java, which are compiled languages, fundamentally making Python execute code slower than them but on the other hand, also provide limitless programming abilities.
It is dynamically typed, as opposed to static representations such as in HTML. There are many benefits that Python brings to the table for developers, especially if the aim or goal is to build sophisticated web applications or integrate AI or analytical systems into web environments. However, like every programming or scripting language, Python has its drawbacks.
Python is truly powerful and boasts of multiple libraries, tools, and frameworks that assist developers in building various projects. Python is easy to learn as well, boasting of a simple set of rules or syntax that is very easy to understand. Even though Python requires a lot of memory and lacks speed, it makes up for it through portability and by being easy to read. Python makes it possible for developers to build web sophisticated programs or apps on the server-side, which react to user interaction. Python promotes automation, analytics, testing, data generation and allows projects to be completed incredibly fast through the use of readily available frameworks.
Python boasts support for GUI, being able to build dynamic and highly immersive applications. Python might not be the fastest, but it is definitely one of the cleanest languages out there. Fundamentally it is making debugging, collaborations and upgrades very easy. Python is also open-source, this makes it easy for developers to use Python in any way that suits them without the need for a license. Alongside the massive support of libraries and frameworks, Python is truly suitable for a variety of purposes and can be used extensively even in web development.
Python in Web Development
Due to the availability of libraries and frameworks that are meant to be used with Python, it removes the need for developers to build web applications from scratch. The extensive list of frameworks and libraries ensures that developers have an easy time building web applications, sometimes even removing the need to code entirely and simply build applications or UI visually by just manipulating logic where required. Python is used for implementations of Machine Learning or AI in web applications or for creating sophisticated programs that run from the application-side or server-side. Python is used extensively to build recommendation engines, search algorithms, app environments, e-Commerce systems, and smart UIs. Let us look at some of the big companies that have used Python or are using Python for Web Development.
- Instagram: Instagram was completely built using Python, effectively using the Django web framework and Instagram is still using Python 3 as their code base to this date. It allows Instagram to be simple and easy to maintain, it also makes it extremely easy to upgrade and implement new functions. Python has allowed Instagram to become massively scalable as well, with the need to support millions of active users.
- Netflix: Python is also the preferred choice for many developers at Netflix due to it being simple to use. Netflix uses Python to empower analysis of data directly through the server-side while. Netflix also takes the help of Python to enable the Central Alert Gateway, which is a system that routes alerts to the required individuals without risking duplication. Python is also used by Netflix for security purposes and tracking as well. Python allows Netflix to use trackers that alert developers in the case of any security changes or if SSL certificates expire across domains.
- Google: Python is one of Google’s official server-side languages. Python is extensively used due to its rapid deployment capabilities and easy maintenance. Google chooses to only use C++ when it comes to memory-intensive tasks, being replaced by Python for most back-end tasks. Even when other languages such as Bash or Perl are used, they are generally decoded or converted into Python before deployment. Google’s first web-crawler or Google’s first spider was built using Java, however, it turned out to be quite complex to maintain, use and debug, hence it is switched to Python immediately after rewriting it using Python.
- Facebook: Python is used in Facebook for infrastructure management, a binary distribution, operational automation, and hardware imaging. Python allows developers at Facebook to write less code and makes maintenance easy. Fundamentally, this allows the people at Facebook to spend more time on improvements and upgrades. Python also ensures that Facebook’s infrastructure is scalable and stable.
- Spotify: Spotify uses Python primarily for data analysis, suggestion systems, and recommendation engines. Python is extensively used for backend services that communicate with each other using frameworks and libraries written in Python. Spotify prefers Python due to it enabling faster development pipelines and also synchronicity. Spotify is known for using Luigi, a well-known Python module to interpret a massive volume of data analytics. Spotify uses thousands of separate Python processes to work on Hadoop cluster nodes.
Many large conglomerates, MNCs, and start-ups use only Python for everything while some explicitly use it for security, data analysis, automation, forecasting, fraud prevention, and application layering. For instance, Reddit prefers to only hire engineers who know Python extensively. Reddit prefers everything to be written in Python, while the core engine of Uber is written using Python and Java as well. Huge amounts of the primary code that has existed since the beginning in Uber’s applications are based on Python. Here are a few other companies that have taken the help of Python to build their web applications and websites.
Advantages of Using Python
Python has its drawbacks but it has many more advantages that web developers across the globe can benefit from. Let us look at some of them.
- Python is very easy to learn. Python uses clear, simple, and concise logic, allowing developers to write faster. Python is easy for beginners due to it having more in common with the human language than a compiling language such as C++. Python also allows users to write less code in comparison with other languages.
- Python is easy to visualize and represent the data. Charts and plots can be used to visually represent data that allow developers to understand the data and gain valuable insights. Web developers extensively use Python libraries such as Matplotlib for reporting and visualization purposes.
- Python allows easy debugging and maintenance. Python is great for building prototypes rapidly and then bringing them to life. Web development is highly efficient and fast when using Python. Python boasts of many tools for testing as well as allows applications to be deployed much faster. Components in the code or the small units of code run separately, fundamentally allowing debuggers to tackle errors and bugs more effectively.
- Python has a huge community behind it and immense support, continuous upgrades, and plenty of new libraries and features coming up annually. Python has one of the richest collections of libraries and frameworks, fundamentally allowing developers to spend less time building web apps from scratch or drastically reducing their development time using tools, builders, and plugins.
- Python is capable of using an object-oriented programming (OOP) approach, making it less expensive to develop applications and less time-consuming. This is due to OOP that promotes the organization of different properties and behavior into classes, elements, and objects, fundamentally making it easy to find errors and work on isolated components of the code.
- Python is very versatile and adaptive. It is also easy to scale. Python is known for being able to be integrated with pre-existing technology or architecture easily as well. Python supports various integrations, data formats, and external implementations (APIs or mobile infrastructure).
- Python can be used for data generation and Data Science. Python is also extensively used for implementing Machine Learning or AI infrastructures inside websites or web applications.
- Python is portable and supports dynamic semantics. Python can be integrated or embedded inside multiple variations of web environments with ease. Developers can add to Python’s own vocabulary and connect various components together.
- Python prides itself in being readable and simple, making collaboration easy and allowing developers to understand code written by others. Python is also very popular and is used by a huge community of developers. All of this makes it easy for companies to use Python for web development due to it being universally accepted and understood.
- Python supports multiple programming paradigms or styles. This allows web developers to modify their approach at any given moment.
- Python allows room for upgrades and optimizations alongside massive manipulations of code or programs at any given time during development. Python has support for multiple data types as well.
- Python is great for server-side scripting, allowing users to implement multiple algorithms from the backend or application-side, based on visitor actions.
- Finally, Python is an open-source, empowering modifications or redistributions.
Drawbacks of Python and Common Issues
Even though Python offers many advantages, there are some drawbacks that are faced by developers, especially when building web applications. Not all of these drawbacks are relevant outside constructing web-based applications or projects; however, in the case of web environments, front-end aspects, speed, and memory dependency make a lot of difference. Here are the common problems that developers face when working with Python.
- Python does not support multiprocessing extensively, even though it technically is capable of doing so. This makes converting code harder and also limits the code that developers write.
- Python does not have enough professional developers, especially ones who use Python for web development purposes. In general, as well, there are many more Java developers when compared with the number of Python users. However, this number is slowly changing as more developers have increasingly started adopting Python.
- Python is great for web applications but it is not suitable for mobile applications. Python does not allow the best visually appealing approach towards mobile development and thus even for mobile browsers, developers choose to use native development methodologies, front-end technology or React.
- Python is a dynamically typed language, fundamentally executing tasks during the runtime of the applications as compared to static languages. This creates speed and loading issues and sometimes leads to errors during runtime.
- Parallel concurrency and multi-tasking cause fatal crashes in the program due to Python not being able to multitask efficiently.
- Python does not handle memory-intensive tasks well. Python consumes massive amounts of memory that makes it an issue to sustain.
- Python poses a threat to design and restricts truly immersive content. Expressive or heavy use of elements might crash applications or simply allow them to not be rendered. This limits developers in terms of graphics and designs, fundamentally having to make less interactive applications.
Best Frameworks for Web Development
Frameworks are packages or modules that contain pre-written and default code that assist development. In the case of web development, Python prides itself on having multiple frameworks such as Django that make developing much easier. Frameworks have pre-built components that allow developers to directly get into customization and optimization aspects instead of configuring, setting up, and coding the primary structure. These tried-and-tested frameworks provide an easy solution for deploying projects fast while being highly reliable and versatile. Here are the best frameworks available for web development using Python.
Django allows developers to build fully functional web applications that are scalable. Django offers features such as support for databases, easy modification of code or components and code reusability. Websites built with Django fundamentally makes it very easy for developers to modify and expand their projects. Django also provides a secure method of managing user passwords or accounts. It is one of the most preferred open-source frameworks because it adds security measures as well as allows developers to deploy concepts within a few hours.
CherryPy uses an object-oriented approach for web development and allows applications to be built rapidly. It boasts of testing tools and a very expansive configuration system. CherryPy also has tools for encoding, authentication, caching, and static elements. It has a secure and stable webserver alongside an adaptive plugin system.
Apart from Django, Flask is probably used by the highest number of web development projects using Python. Flask allows developers to easily manage, maintain and customize applications. Flask is also very flexible and does not force any pre-determined layouts or dependencies. It is one of the most preferred choices for testing as well alongside this framework promoting the future extension of the core.
Pyramid is also another framework known for promoting scalability. It is lightweight and provides everything needed to build any web application. It has support for databases, plugins, and static assets. It also implements security measures and allows developers to add functions later on.
TurboGears promotes fast, sustainable, and efficient web app developmental processes. TurboGears officially supports MongoDB and also various template engines. It also boasts of a transaction manager that allows the deployment of multiple databases. TurboGears allows developers to build both simple and sophisticated applications using minimal or full-stack methodologies.
Web2Py is another framework that promotes the rapid development of web apps. It allows developers to build applications around secured databases using full-stack methodologies. It enables the dynamic writing of SQL and includes a Database Abstraction Layer. Web2Py also addresses security concerns and eliminates them.
The frameworks above are the most commonly used ones for web development; however, there are some more that one can choose from.
- Bottle: A lightweight micro web development framework that has a built-in HTTP development server and incredible support for templates, metadata, file uploads, form data, etc.
- CubicWeb: This is a semantic web development framework. It allows developers to reuse components known as cubes.
- Falcon: This framework is known for being a WSGI library that provides reliable and flexible performance when building APIs and applications.
- Quixote: This is another framework that is known for being flexible and high-performing when building web applications.
Useful Libraries for Web Development
Before wrapping up, let us also check some of the best Python libraries that can be used for Web development.
- Dash: Dash allows users to develop web applications that implement data visualization. This library offers a huge number of features such as graphs, charts, dashboards, etc.
- Natural Language Toolkit: This is another suite of libraries that allow mathematical or statistical processing and text analysis of human language data.
- Zappa: Zappa allows developers to build serverless applications.
- Pandas: Pandas is used for data manipulation and data analysis. It offers various operations and data structures that allow the manipulation of time series and numerical tables.
- Scrapy: Scrapy can be used for data extraction and is a web crawler used for data mining, data scraping, and automated testing implementations.
- NumPy: NumPy or Numeric Python allows users to use high-level mathematical functions. NumPy also adds support for massive multi-dimensional arrays and matrices.
- Requests: ‘Requests’ is a great resource enabling smooth communication with systems or applications. ‘Requests’ is used for sending HTTP requests rapidly to acquire data or HTML pages.
- SciPy: SciPy or Scientific Numeric Library is used for technical and scientific computing. It supports optimization, integration, algebraic functions, interpolation, and image processing among many other functions required for engineering and scientific projects.
With the huge number of tools, libraries, frameworks, resources, and a large developing community behind it, it is no surprise that Python is slowly becoming the most preferred choice for programming.
This can be observed in the case of web applications or web development as well, which fundamentally places Python at the top when the goal is to build advanced applications or integrations inside web environments. Even with the few drawbacks that Python possesses, mainly due to it being memory exhaustive, the benefits of using Python far outweigh the disadvantages. Python allows developers to truly become limitless and build extraordinary applications across the web and even mobile-browser environments.