How to Build a Web Application Using Python


Python is one of the most used and popular programming languages available. Python’s design philosophy emphasizes code readability and robustness, and the language is entirely open source.

One of the reasons why Python is a commonly used language is that it is easy to learn and still powerful enough to create advanced applications. For example, Instagram, one of the most popular social media apps, was developed using Python. Python is a general-purpose language, meaning we can create any type of web app using it.

In this article, we will learn the things you need to know before creating a web app using Python, understanding whether Python is good for web development, choosing the appropriate Python framework, popular websites created using Python, and issues with using Python for web development.

Let’s dive right in.

How to Build a Web App Using Python

Prerequisites for Web Development Using Python

One must learn HTML and CSS to build basic static websites. Without it, the developer won’t be able to create the front end, which means the part of the website that’s visible in the browser.

Then you need to master the basics of Javascript, the essential client-side scripting language that all web developers need to know. Javascript makes the website more dynamic, while HTML and CSS take care of static aspects of the website.

You also need to know any database management system (DBMS) like MySql, Postgresql, etc. This is optional because not all websites require DBMS, as most sites are static.

Having a good understanding of concepts like computer networks, API, Bootstrap, etc., would be handy.

Is Python Good for Web Development?

Building a web application from scratch can be tiresome. But using Python, web development is much easier than you think. Python makes use of something called frameworks.

Frameworks are prebuilt sections of code that are made to perform specific tasks. In simpler words, instead of building your product from scratch, frameworks provide you with a foundational code structure to work on, making it much easier and faster to build your product. Using a framework can cut down the total amount of time taken to code.

Python provides asynchronous coding. Python is designed in a way where deadlocks and other related issues cannot occur. Python provides smooth integration with other languages and enterprise development languages like Java, .NET, C++, and C.

One of the best reasons to use Python is its built-in libraries that are helpful to connect your AI models and even perform analytics. At the same time, it is also easy to connect your web app with the Internet of Things. Easy access to sensors, actuators, and edge computing databases makes it a go-to language for web development when involving IoT.

Python frameworks like Flask and Django are some of the most commonly used web development frameworks. So if you ask me whether Python is good for web development, the answer is a big “YES”.

Choosing the Appropriate Python Web Development Framework

Python provides you with various types of frameworks for web development. You can choose the framework based on your use case and other constraints. The following are among the most popular Python frameworks used today:

1. Django

Django is an open-source framework that offers fast development features and an uncluttered design process. It is fast and also one of the most secure web development tools available in Python. It uses the “Don’t Repeat Yourself” principle that allows you to reuse code. Django is the most preferred web development framework by Python developers.

Django is built upon MVT Architecture. MVT (Model View Template) does not have a controller. Django takes care of the controller part. Django supports features like search engine optimization and allows developers to divide a project into multiple-page applications.

2. Flask

Flask is a micro web framework written in Python. It is a suitable web development framework for beginners as a few lines of code can get your web app running. Unlike Django, it is suitable for small web applications.

Flask lacks certain features such as authentication and authorization capabilities but offers greater flexibility. It does not require tools or libraries. Django and Flask are the commonly used Python web frameworks.

The other frameworks that are available in Python are:

3. Web2py

Web2py is a full stack open source framework that can run on almost any web hosting platform. Web2py comes with default security measures for common web vulnerabilities. Web2py is a full stack framework and contains all the necessary components to build a functional web app.

Web2py is designed to guide web developers to follow essential software engineering practices and provides libraries to help the developer design, implement and test each of these three parts separately and make them work together.

4. Pyramid

Pyramid is a general and open-source web application development framework built using Python. Pyramid allows developers to create web applications with ease. Pyramid supports both small and large projects, and it can also support microframeworks. Pyramid also provides transaction management.

5. FastAPI

FastAPI is a high-performance web development framework of Python used for building APIs. It is a modern framework that makes it fast to code, making no compromise in performance.

6. Bottle

Bottle is a fast, simple, and lightweight WSGI micro web framework for Python. It is distributed as a single file module and has no dependencies other than Python standard library.

Bottle has a built-in HTTP development server and supports all WSGI-capable HTTP servers. We can conveniently access form data, file uploads, cookies, headers, and other HTTP-related metadata using Bottle.

7. AIOHTTP

The AIOHTTP framework is a popular asynchronous HTTP client/server framework based on the asyncio library. Like flask, the AIOHTTP framework provides a request object and a router for redirecting queries to functions that handle them.

8. TurboGears

TurboGears is a Python framework that consists of many modules. TurboGears is built upon an MVC (Model View Controller) Architecture. Turbo does not take care of the controller, and the developer has to take care of it.

TurboGears is designed to make rapid web app development in Python easier and more supportable. It follows the model view paradigm as most modern web frameworks like Django, Rails, etc., do.

Popular Web Apps Created Using Python

Many popular web applications are created using Python. Here are some of the heavy hitters that use Python to create their web apps:

  • Instagram
  • Google
  • Netflix
  • Spotify
  • Uber
  • Dropbox
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit 

Issues with Python for Web Development

  • Python is not good for mobile development. Developers find it difficult to integrate both the web app and mobile app in the backend if they target the same database. Developers prefer native languages like React Native as they can be easily connected with Reactjs in web development.
  • Python has a slow execution speed. Languages like Golang have provided tremendous advantages for Google in terms of execution speed. Websites like Khanacademy have migrated from Python 2 to Golang in recent times.
  • Java’s JDBC and a few other language database modules are considered more secure than Python. Frameworks like Django provide these safeties, but comparatively, JDBC stands out.
  • The Global Interpreter Lock (GIL) in Python stops several threads from running simultaneously. If your web projects involve concurrency and parallelism elements, it can cause trouble.

Final Thoughts

Now you would have understood how to use Python to build web apps. Choosing the right framework to build a web app is important as it should match your use case.

If you want to learn web development using Python as a beginner, you can choose either Flask or Django, as they are the best choices at the moment. If you are building an advanced application and require specific functionalities, use a language that contains those features.

I hope you found this article useful. All the best for your future coding endeavors!

Ashwin Joy

I'm the face behind Pythonista Planet. I learned my first programming language back in 2015. Ever since then, I've been learning programming and immersing myself in technology. On this site, I share everything that I've learned about computer programming.

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