Django vs. Node.js: Which Is Better?

Django vs. Node.js compares two in-demand tools for developing your next software project. Both are dynamic technologies for building web-based applications and mobile apps. 

Between 2012 and 2021, JavaScript has maintained its title as the most commonly used programming language. 

Likewise, the 2021 Developer Survey by Stack Overflow listed Python as the third most popular programming language

Node.js and Django being the respective offspring of these languages, it’s clear why their comparison can breed fierce competition.

Today, you will get a brief snapshot of the key differences contrasting Node.js vs. Django. 

And then you’ll have an opportunity to dive deeper into their main attributes, ending with a side-by-side comparison of Django vs. Node.js in the following categories:

  1. Community
  2. Scalability 
  3. Architecture
  4. Security
  5. Usability
  6. Performance

To learn more about the differences between Django and Node.js, and find out which tool will be the last one standing, stay tuned!

What is Django?

Django — cleverly dubbed ‘the web framework for perfectionists with deadlines’ — is a Python-based full stack web development framework. 

The origin story of Django starts in 2003 — as corroborated by Django’s co-creator via Quora. 

Simon Willison and Adrian Holovaty were working in a newsroom, using PHP to develop websites like Lawrence.com and other projects associated with the paper. 

At the time, PHP wasn’t the most convenient language for maintaining large sites and the team eagerly switched to Python. 

But their opinionated assertions on how web development should work led them to build Django, which they hoped would be better suited for scalability. 

The Django name was inspired by Romani guitarist Django Reinhardt, one of Holovaty’s favorites.

The technical underbelly of Django is just as interesting. The framework emphasizes several principles for optimizing the software development process.

Loose coupling, don’t repeat yourself (DRY), and less code are three prominent design philosophies of Django. 

In loose coupling, the architecture of Django makes it so that different aspects of a software can function independently, rather than interdependently. 

DRY is a well-known programming concept that stresses the importance of the reusability and pluggability of functions and objects to cut down on development time. 

Lastly, less code is a round-about way of highlighting Django’s need for speed and simplicity. 

Boilerplate code, or code that encourages redundancies and tediousness, is adamantly discouraged within the Django framework. 

There’s definitely more where that came from. But for right now, these guiding principles should give you a pretty good idea of how Django operates.

What is Node.js?

Node.js is a JavaScript runtime environment. JavaScript itself is the go-to programming language for building dynamic websites and web applications. 

Except, JavaScript favors front-end use, and deals with actions on the client-side like scrolling and clicking. 

In fact, JavaScript is a notorious asset for front-end web development. Few websites would survive without it. 

But the kicker here is that Node.js is a back-end technology. This means you can use JavaScript on the front-end and back-end of your project.

Node.js encourages a ‘JavaScript everywhere’ approach to development. 

Allowing developers to use an all-time favorite language to script server-side behavior like managing databases and APIs is an ingenious way to simplify development.  

This explains why major companies use Node.js with glee, such as Netflix, LinkedIn, and Amazon Web Services. 

To get back on track, it’s worth exploiting Node.js’s origins. Node.js was born in 2009. Ryan Dahl, a software engineer at Google gets due credit for its conception. 

Node.js is predated by LiveWire, a 1995 Netscape project that aimed to render JavaScript webpages on the server-side. The project failed. 

The current success of Node.js can largely be accredited to its Google V8 JavaScript engine. 

In short, this engine interprets and compiles JavaScript code directly into machine code, making the user experience of a Node.js program exceptionally swift. 

Related reading: Node.js vs. PHP: Which Is Better for Your Business?

Django vs. Node.js: Side-by-Side Comparison

Now that you have the basics down, prepare for a more in-depth take on what Django and Node.js can offer. Here goes:

Community

Both Node.js and Django are free and open-source, empowering their communities in unique ways. 

In fact, experienced Node.js users review updates to the software and offer feedback and customization. 

However, Django’s community is relatively small and only moderately active. In comparison, Node.js’s community is notably large and very active. 

In addition, Node.js amounts to nearly three times the market share in the most relevant categories. 

Developers flock to Django to take advantage of Python’s ease of use. The syntax of Python is known amongst developer circles for being absurdly simple. 

Big names like Pinterest, Instagram, Spotify, and Youtube are some of the higher-status Django applications

But Node.js gets most of its attention from front-end developers who want to give server-side JavaScript a taste. 

And full stack JavaScript development is the root of many Node.js applications from dashboards to streaming services.

The innate agility of Node.js makes the runtime environment a favorite tool for many developers. 

Because of the thriving community of Node.js, developers using the tool have easier access to information and knowledge. 

As a result, your development team will have an overall better time building your next software project. 

Winner: Node.js — Due to JavaScript’s popularity, Node.js has a larger user base and community than Django.

Architecture 

Node.js is a runtime environment rather than a framework and operates using an event-driven model. 

In a nutshell, Node.js uses asynchronous programming. Asynchronous programming permits functions to execute out-of-order. 

In turn, synchronous programming relies on a hierarchy, in which one function must fully execute before the next even starts to run

For Node.js, this means an improved user experience as web pages won’t delay once one or two elements fail to load immediately. 

Node.js also supports object-oriented programming, a way of structuring code that is intuitive for developers and great for scaling. 

That said, there are specific nuances of the Node.js platform and native methods that present an unfortunate learning curve to those most interesting in using Node.js.

To compare, Django has a straightforward architecture. Its model-view-template structure clearly separates the data access layer from the presentation layer. 

In plain English, developers can compartmentalize their programming based on whether they want to make changes to the user interface (UI) or to the business logic on the back-end. 

Combined with the favorability of Python, Django’s architecture is appealing to developers who plan to scale but hate complexity.

Winner: Django — Though Node.js has its perks, the architecture of Django makes it an overall easier tool to use

Scalability 

Since Node.js employs asynchronous programming, it provides concurrency for executing simultaneous functions. 

Naturally, this leads to more scalability overall, making Node.js a clever choice for web and web app development.

And the fact that you can use JavaScript on both sides of development engenders what some call a ‘JavaScript everywhere’ paradigm that is undoubtedly convenient. 

In addition, this relieves you of the pressure involved in implementing and managing a bloated tech stack where businesses must use several different tools for a single project. 

Node.js supports microservices as well. Microservice architecture is independently deployable which can help businesses who want to scale by optimizing the software development process. 

On the other hand, many facets of the Django framework make it similarly scalable. 

For one, Python is a treasured language with an all-around easy-to-use syntax. 

Django is also extremely portable. While Node.js runs on Windows and Linux, Python runs on virtually any platform, including Apple operating systems. And where there is Python, there is Django. 

Reusable apps are another valuable feature of Django. These apps put the DRY principle into practice by enabling users to write, package, reuse, and install Python packages. 

Called Django apps, these packages are small libraries representing a submodule of a larger Django project. 

Using tools like MemCache, Django developers can cache applications easier, giving users quick access to memory and speeding up their experience. 

Winner: None — Both Node.js and Django are highly scalable tools. 

Security

Django has built-in security protocols that ensure security risks are low. Developers pretty much don’t need to think about security issues at all. 

On its site, Django lists its top security protection against a number of common attacks like SQL injection, clickjacking, cross-site scripting, and cross-site request forgery. 

Though this may just sound like gibberish, you can check out Trio’s article on cybersecurity to learn more about why these cyber attacks are so threatening in the first place. 

Node.js is not as advanced. There are no default security settings so developers have to do extra work to feel safe.  

Winner: Django — Django has robust security measures in place to protect your data where Node.js is lacking. 

Usability

Django is monolithic. As compared to microservices, a monolithic architecture is limiting at best and bad for business at worst. 

Software applications in Django are single-tier and code within the program is generally interdependent. 

Plus, the framework is meant for building complex web apps. Unlike Flask, Django’s more down-to-earth brother-in-law, Django isn’t suited for small and/or simple apps. 

In contrast, you can build microservices with Node.js and since the tool is an environment in and of itself, there’s more freedom to code however you want. 

One of Node.js’s best assets is npm, or the Node Package Manager. This is a repository of several free libraries and extensions, making the platform even more flexible. 

You can also customize templates in Node.js. And though it might be challenging, experienced developers enjoy this feature thoroughly. 

On the flip side, Django has built-in templates. While this is handy for beginners, often developers like having the independence to build things from scratch.

Winner: Node.js — Django may have a vast collection of templates and libraries but Node.js is frankly more customizable. 

Performance

Although Node.js offers concurrency, it is still single-threaded. Single-threaded processes use a single sequence to execute tasks. 

Programming in Node.js is asynchronous, but a multi-threaded infrastructure would greatly increase a program’s capacity to process instructions. 

Luckily, this is where Django shines. Not only is it multi-threaded, but app caching and database optimization boosts the framework’s performance as well. 

Winner: Django — Node.js and Django are both high-performing tools, but Django performs much better in this category when you account for all its bonuses.

Django vs. Node.js: Side-by-Side Comparison

Conclusion

In comparing Django vs. Node.js, it is clear that Django takes the lead. If you’re looking to build your next software project with a technology that is secure, performant, scalable, and straightforward, Django is the right choice. 

But if for some reason your heart is still yearning for Node.js, rest assured that you’re not alone. Node.js is a flexible, scalable software with a supportive community to help you further your goals. 

Depending on where your desire lies, Trio is well-able to be a pillar of support for your next project.

For example, if you choose Node.js, Trio is eager to point you in the right direction for hiring Node.js developers

Adversely, if Django is calling to you, Trio is just as prepared to take your call and lend you highly qualified Django developers,

Either way, Trio has your back. We’re here to help. 

 

Cordenne Brewster

Content Writer

About

A tech enthusiast whose ardor is best expressed through the written word.

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Django — cleverly dubbed ‘the web framework for perfectionists with deadlines’ — is a Python-based full stack web development framework.

Node.js is a JavaScript runtime environment, which allows developers to use JavaScript on the back-end.