Django: vibrant community and future?

| | August 7, 2015

I’m in that horrible questioning state. No, not trying to figure out if I’m gay. I’m trying to decide between Django and Rails.

From what I’ve read, Django probably fits my needs better, both from a “cultural” and goal point of view. The baked-in admin interface pretty much sells me alone. However, I have one critical concern: it looks like the Rails community is much larger. This could be a plus OR a minus; read on.

I have experience hanging my hat on a technology that does not have as vibrant a commmunity as its “competitor.” I run a Mac consulting firm in the Bay Area. Up until very, very recently (like the last year!), finding resources for very difficult issues (especially server- and network-related) was so difficult that it was often not even worth trying. This is now changing rapidly due to the Halo Effect, but if it wasn’t for Steve Jobs’ return to Apple and the iPhone, the future would look just as bleak as the past.

So, while Django looks awesome, I am concerned about pigeonholing myself in yet another niche. I’m less concerned with my theoretical job prospects as a Django developer (I like my job) than I am with simply having resources available to create and maintain cutting-edge projects that can evolve with the Web, and not lag too far behind.

From the above point of view, it looks like Rails has the advantage. However, here’s a problem I’ve noticed that seems to come from the vibrancy of the Rails community: Want to accomplish a particular Rails programming task you’ve never done before? Google it; you’ll find three to six+ different plugins, each with as many advocates as detractors. How do you decide which to use without spending hours and hours learning and prototyping? How do you know that the one you choose won’t be end-of-lifed in 12 months, and you’ll have to redo that part of your app in order to stay current with the latest Rails distribution?

My latter point brings me right back to where I started: Django seems like a time-saver. Except now I have two reasons to think so, not just one.

I should mention that I’ve already spent a significant amount of time learning Ruby and Rails, dabbled a bit in Python, and quite prefer Ruby.

Would love your thoughts.

3 Responses to “Django: vibrant community and future?”

  1. From what I have seen neither one looks like it will become a niche any time soon, both have active communities and dedicated developers. Ruby and python are both great languages, and both are being actively developed as well. At some point Django will have to migrate from python 2.x to 3.y, which may be a little bit painful, but the same sort of thing can be expected from rails at some point in the future.

    I think you have narrowed it down to the right two for being main stream yet not stagnant. They both have advantages and disadvantages, and if there isn’t a clear reason to chose one or the other for your project, I would say go with the language you prefer. Python is my language of choice, so baring some killer reason to chose RoR, Django is the natural way to go to continue developing the way I like to. If you prefer ruby, I would recommend going with RoR unless Django seems to fit your application in a way RoR does not.

  2. If the size and the vibrancy of the community is the main problem, than maybe you should look at other framework stacks not just Django and Rails (those two make allot of noise and hype, but there are other much more bigger that don’t get that loud – e.g. Java/JVM based framework stacks have users in a few order of magnitude higher than those two you mention).

    If the game however is just between these two, when I would decide, I would take in consideration especially the available tools (how good the IDE support is) – at least for me they’re very very important, since they’re what make a productivity difference.

    Even if on the Mac the hype is of course TextMate, with all the respect, that is just an advanced editor – not an IDE with “smart” features like error highlighting in code, smart and correct completion, etc.

    The smartest existing IDE for Rails is RubyMine, so considering that for Python (Django) there’s nothing not even close that advanced, I would choose Ruby on Rails even for this just only reason. Of course, another plus point for RoR is the bigger number of books available (so when in doubt, I have better chances to find a solution in one of them).

  3. What about Pylons?

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