Node.js vs Django: Key differences, popularity, use cases and more
An artist can present his talent in the best possible way, not only with their eye for creativity but also with the right instruments and equipment. Likewise, web development is an art, and this art is only limited to your imagination. But without proper tools, you can’t turn your vision into reality.
When it comes to web app development, you need a robust technology stack to power your web application. Node.js and Django are two such open-source frameworks that have been much talked about for its all-around performance.
On the other hand, Django is a cross-platform, high-level Python framework. It focuses on eliminating repetitive tasks and setting the base for some speedy application development.
Though Node.js and Django are both used to develop web applications, they are unique in their ways. In this blog, you’ll see a comparison between the two frameworks based on factors like programming, architecture, security, and performance.
But before we get there, let’s get an overview of Node.js vs Django.
Comparison Overview: Node.js V/S Django
Before we compare the two technologies, you must understand the key features that set them apart.
Node.js vs Django: Which one is more popular?
According to Google Trends, Node.js has grabbed more eyeballs than Django for over a decade.
Furthermore, a variety of industries prefer Node.js over Django.
Even when it comes to worldwide coverage, Node.js is a clear winner.
Python is ranked #1 among all the programming languages, but when it comes to web development, specifically, Node.js precedes Django.
Programming in Node.js vs Django
Is this your first rodeo with Node.js? Fret not! The syntax of this language facilitates writing scripts for simple applications. The learning curve to build a complete web application might seem steep because you’ll need to understand Node’s architecture, asynchronous programming, and native methods.
Much like Node.js, Django can be learned quickly. Moreover, if you’re already familiar with Python, this framework will only come naturally to you. However, to work with Django, you’ll need to understand the methods and features that come out-of-the-box and the framework’s MTV architecture.
The framework follows a strict approach to following them throughout the development. Additionally, it allows you to do more work with less code, saving you a lot of time. Django offers excellent documentation and a community to help you through the hiccups.
There’s no denying that Django is more comfortable to grasp and faster to build compared to Node.js. So here’s the deal:
Both the web framework would require the base knowledge of their respective languages. However, Django is easier to get started with because Node introduces some complex concepts that make it a bit difficult for beginners. Strictly speaking from the learning curve’s perspective, one should choose the web framework whose base language is already familiar to the developers.
- If you are concerned about the learning curve, you could choose Django.
The Architecture of Node.js vs Django
Node.js architecture is distinct among other server-side platforms; its single-thread event loop architecture helps build high-end applications. This server-side runtime environment offers robustness to the applications built with it, making them available for processing requests without delays because of its non-blocking input/output and asynchronous request handling architecture.
- Handling multiple concurrent requests is easy and fast in Node.js. It helps applications process various requests/operations simultaneously, resulting in more immediate responses to the app users/ client requests.
- Single-threaded applications- no context switching between the threads help to reduce reloads and overall overhead time.
Django is Model-Template-View based architecture. The web framework comes with several advantages that help build apps faster, better, and advanced.
- Faster development- developers can work on multiple modules of a single project simultaneously, making the framework a rapid development platform for web apps.
- The component-based pattern of the framework helps give ease to modification. One change in component does not affect the entire application or other components.
Both architectures serve different purposes. Node.js architecture is designed to build real-time apps and process multiple requests simultaneously. At the same time, Django’s architecture focuses on making app development faster and providing a solid foundation for building scalable, secure, and maintainable apps.
Security in Node.js vs Django
Since Node.js doesn’t offer default security settings, your developers may have to walk a few extra miles to add security measures to ensure your application is secure. This step is important as the default session cookie names used by the framework could expose your application to the attacks.
In addition to this, your application may be vulnerable to various attacks like Cross-Site Scripting(XSS), Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF), SQL Injection, among others.
Conversely, Django takes security very seriously. It sanitizes its input to prevent malicious injection through the input fields of the web application. It also safely handles SQL queries to block SQL injection attacks. Some of the security features Django provides are:
- Cross-site scripting (XSS) protection
- Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) protection
- SQL injection protection
- Clickjacking protection
- Host header validation
When it comes to security, Django is a clear winner. So if your web application deals with sensitive information, you know which technology to choose. However, that doesn’t mean Node.js isn’t a safe option.
It’s just that you may need to add some extra hours and a little more effort to protect your application.
Templates and Documentation in Node.js vs Django
Node.js is a developer-friendly tool. With the flexibility to design and customize templates, it has become a preferred tool for experienced developers. But the downside is that the beginners find it challenging to get things right at first. Another challenge is that it takes more time to build an app since you have to start building an app from scratch. It will also be essential to invest your time searching for implementation modules and a separate time for their testing.
Django has a built-in templates system. Anyone with HTML understanding can go along well with this without having to understand python programming. It could be helpful for beginners, as the development process becomes faster due to the ready-made availability of templates.
However, it doesn’t give you the flexibility to design everything from scratch, unlike Node.js.
Both Node.js and Django have unique concerns to build great apps. For beginners, Django serves well; otherwise, as a professional web developer, choose Node.js.
Customization in Node.js vs Django
Node.js is a highly customizable technology that puts you on the driver’s seat from the word go. Since you’ll be building everything from scratch, you can control how your web application is made and how it works. This characteristic is most loved by experienced Node.js developers who are passionate about building different web applications and exploring the many features of Node.js.
Django has a lot more to offer with its vast template and library system. It is reducing a lot of work in development. But there’s a loophole; you can not build apps with more scalability, which requires a structure like other MVC frameworks. It has limited scope for flexibility and customization. The architecture is model-template-view-based; there’s a little scope to build apps with Model-view-view-model architectures, and apps yielding more customization attributes and scratch requirements.
If you are looking to build custom web applications with no restriction on the architecture, Node.js is for you. But if you are not bothered by a customized web-app and are just looking for a quick way to do it, you could choose Django.
Scalability in Node.js vs Django
Scalability pertains to developing apps considering the future scope to build features and functionality while handling many users/customers. A scalable solution is customizable, able to add new functionalities and open for addressing a tremendous amount of client requests, updates in real-time, and an increase in workload.
While Node.js and Django are preferred frameworks to build desired apps, let’s check their ability to build scalable apps.
Node.js beautifully supports microservices architecture- a healthy pattern to build smaller, independent, and scalable services. It helps build apps with complicated and broad enterprise purposes.
Both Node.js and microservices architecture are suitable for each other. While Node.js can handle thousands of concurrent requests without compromising performance, microservices can create small modules for scalable apps; a great combination to build scalable and performant apps.
Due to its non-blocking I/O, event-driven architecture, and support for microservices, Node.js builds real-time streaming apps, networked and data-intensive apps.
Though Django has certain restrictions to customize the apps and flexibility, it has an edge to build scalable apps because of its template fragment caching and availability of tools to handle data migrations such as performing heavy lifting of the application. It could be serving content, a large number of writes, and more types of apps.
Template fragment caching is a mechanism to cache the specific contents instead of re-rendering the block, which is the most sought-after requirement in scalable apps where so many operations and requests to be served in a short time.
Django could be used with any tech stack like Angular or Node.js to perform this heavy lifting of scalability data. So, Django is a favorable option to build highly scalable apps.
Node.js is superior in building robust, scalable apps and capabilities to handle thousands of requests, while Django, too, is excellent to handle thousands of requests and high-traffic apps. Both platforms are suitable for building scalable apps.
But when you build scalable apps, you might require more flexibility to design the functionality, in that case, Node.js is for you. But of course, Django doesn’t disappoint us in handling data, so Django is a good option, too, for scalable apps.
Performance of Node.js vs Django
The faster your web application, the higher the performance. Many things affect your web application’s performance, such as load times, code optimization, network configurations, server configurations, size, and data being passed to/from the server.
But when you compare the performance of tools like Node.js and Django, you should mainly consider the execution speed.
Django inherits Python’s high performance. The use of multiple threads helps increase performance. Django provides app caching and database optimization, further helping you improve the performance even more.
Django is better in performance when compared to Node.js.
Full Stack Development using Node.js vs Django
Full-stack apps refer to the handling of frontend and backend development. Frameworks/platforms with expertise and better compatibility with other frontend frameworks are preferred in developing such apps.
The below comparison should portray Node.js and Django’s role in developing full-stack applications.
Full-stack development refers to the front end and backend of a web application since Node.js is a server-side environment; it’s a back-end builder of web apps. Full-stack action could take place using Node.js with other frontend frameworks.
Django is a python-based framework. It is considered for both frontend and backend development. So, full-stack apps could be built with Django.
Community/Dev tools for Node.js vs. Django
Node.js has a good developer community. If you are using Node.js, you’ll find many tools created by other developers on GitHub for free. Additionally, you’ll receive a lot of help with your coding problems. Node.js community also looks at the new releases almost immediately and the updates are made available fast.
Python has a fantastic developer community. We’ve always been impressed by how they come together in creating new things and making them better. Today, you will find a Python tool/library for almost everything you can think of. But this does not apply to Django. The community for this framework is moderately active.
Node.js beats Django in this space.
Development freedom/time/cost when comparing Node.js vs Django
We’ve already uncovered that Node.js gives you more freedom than Django when it comes to building web applications.
If you are looking to build an application within shorter deadlines, Django is the right choice. You would need less time to make an application since Django has many in-built libraries and methods that help you with the necessary tasks and reduces repetition. In contrast, Node.js would take more time for development because you have to start it right from square one.
“Time is money,” so you save money on resources when you take less time for development. Both Node.js and Django are open-source and free. Yet, Django is more cost-efficient.
By now, you’ve got a pretty good idea of the features of Node.js and Django. After knowing all the uniqueness and difference, one natural question would be “When to use what?”
Node.js Use cases: When to use Node.js?
Node.js is most suitable for applications that have a large number of users. There could be two circumstances to use this framework. One, the processing time for each user is more.
Two, the process utilizes very few CPU cycles. When each process takes a reasonable amount of time, you wouldn’t want to waste the thread by keeping it on hold. Instead, you can utilize that thread to handle other requests until the previous request’s response is ready.
One such example is a messaging application. Suppose you are building an application where users send messages to each other. You can’t be sure when a user sends a message, and needless to say that a user wouldn’t send messages 24/7. In such cases, if you assign a thread to each user, they are wasted when the user isn’t sending a message.
Using Node.js, in this case, would help you save a lot of resources and make your application efficient. To know more, read this article.
Django Use cases: When to use Django?
You should prefer using Django over Node.js, especially when there is security involved. You’ve already seen the security features that Django provides. So if you are building a web application that consists of handling sensitive information, Django is your best bet.
It is also most suitable when you want to develop web applications that use Web APIs or webhooks.
Say, you want to build an application that stores financial details of multiple users. Chances are, you might have to use APIs or webhooks to update the information. Such applications become a target for hackers.
Ergo, using Django to build this application would take some heat off your application.
Both Node.js and Django are special tools/platforms for building web-based applications. While Node.js is a server-side runtime environment, it is ideal for apps that require intense data processing such as social networking sites, live-streaming apps, game apps, and software with critical calculations.
Django, on the other hand, is a high-level python framework that could be used for backend and frontend development such as full-stack apps, apps with rapid development as prime need, and developers at beginner-level. Considering Node.js vs Django, Django is about your choice and experience, while Node.js is for professional web developers who need to build real-world apps. Django is built for highly-scalable apps, but one would use it when python is their exceptional expertise.