Django is a widely-used Python web application framework with a "batteries-included" philosophy. The principle behind batteries-included is that the common functionality for building web applications should come with the framework instead of as separate libraries.

Official Django logo. Trademark Django Software Foundation.

For example, authentication, URL routing, a template engine, an object-relational mapper (ORM), and database schema migrations (as of version 1.7) are all included with the Django framework. Compare that included functionality to the Flask framework which requires a separate library such as Flask-Login to perform user authentication.

The batteries-included and extensibility philosophies are simply two different ways to tackle framework building. Neither philosophy is inherently better than the other one.

Django is an implementation of the web frameworks concept. Learn how these pieces fit together in the web development chapter or view the table of contents for all topics.

Why is Django a good web framework choice?

The Django project's stability, performance and community have grown tremendously over the past decade since the framework's creation. Detailed tutorials and good practices are readily available on the web and in books. The framework continues to add significant new functionality such as database migrations with each release.

I highly recommend the Django framework as a starting place for new Python web developers because the official documentation and tutorials are some of the best anywhere in software development. Many cities also have Django-specific groups such as Django District, Django Boston and San Francisco Django so new developers can get help when they are stuck.

There's some debate on whether learning Python by using Django is a bad idea. However, that criticism is invalid if you take the time to learn the Python syntax and language semantics first before diving into web development.

Django books and tutorials

There are a slew of free or low cost resources out there for Django. Make sure to check the version numbers used in each post you read because Django was released over 10 years ago and has had a huge number of updates since then. These resources are geared towards beginners. If you are already experienced with Django you should take a look at the next section of resources for more advanced tutorials.

Django videos

Are you looking for Django videos in addition to articles? There is a special section for Django and web development on the best Python videos page.

Intermediate and advanced Django topics

These books and tutorials assume that you know the basics of building Django and want to go further to become much more knowledgeable about the framework.

Django migrations

  • Paul Hallett wrote a detailed Django 1.7 app upgrade guide on the Twilio blog from his experience working with the django-twilio package.

  • Real Python's migrations primer explores the difference between South's migrations and the built-in Django 1.7 migrations as well as how you use them.

  • Andrew Pinkham's "Upgrading to Django 1.7" series is great learning material for understanding what's changed in this major release and how to adapt your Django project. Part 1, part 2 and part 3 and part 4 are now all available to read.

  • Django migrations without downtimes shows one potential way of performing on-line schema migrations with Django.

  • How to Extend Django User Model presents four main ways to expand upon the built-in User model that is packaged with Django. This scenario is very common for all but the simplest Django projects.

  • Creating a Custom User Model in Django looks at how to create a custom User model in Django so that an email address can be used as the primary user identifier instead of a username for authentication.

Django Channels

Channels are a new mechanism in Django 1.9 provided as a standalone app. They may be incorporated into the core framework in 2.0+. Channels provide "real-time" full-duplex communication between the browser and the server based on WebSockets.

Django testing

Django with JavaScript MVC frameworks

There are resources for JavaScript MVC frameworks such as Angular, React and Vue.js on their respective pages.

Django ORM tutorials

Django comes with its own custom object-relational mapper (ORM) typically referred to as "the Django ORM". Learn more about the Django ORM on the its own page and more broadly about ORMs on the Python object-relational mappers page.

Static and media files

Deploying and handling static and media files can be confusing for new Django developers. These resources along with the static content page are useful for figuring out how to handle these files properly.

Open source Django example projects

  • Browser calls with Django and Twilio shows how to build a web app with Django and Twilio Client to turn a user's web browser into a full-fledged phone. Pretty awesome!

  • Txt 2 React is a full Django web app that allows audiences to text in during a presentation with feedback or questions.

  • Openduty is a website status checking and alert system similar to PagerDuty.

  • Courtside is a pick up sports web application written and maintained by the author of PyCoder's Weekly.

  • These two Django Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system web application repositories part 1 and part 2 show you how to build a really cool Django application. There's also an accompanying blog post with detailed explanations of each step.

  • Taiga is a project management tool built with Django as the backend and AngularJS as the front end.

Django project templates

Project templates, not to be confused with a template engine, generate boilerplate code for a base Django project plus optional libraries that are often used when developing web applications.

Django learning checklist

  1. Install Django on your local development machine.

  2. Work through the initial "polls" tutorial.

  3. Build a few more simple applications using the tutorial resources found in the "Django resources" section.

  4. Start coding your own Django project with help from the official documentation and resource links below. You'll make plenty of mistakes which is critical on your path to learning the right way to build applications.

  5. Read 2 Scoops of Django to understand Django good practices and learn better ways of building Django web applications.

  6. Move on to the deployment section to get your Django project on the web.

What do you need to learn next for your Django app?

My app runs but looks awful. How do I style the user interface?

How do I integrate existing web APIs into my application?

I've built a Python web app, now how do I deploy it?

Matt Makai 2012-2020