Opinion

Django vs Laravel: What's the difference?

Oisin Wood

,

15.10.2021

Whether you're a small start-up or a vast global enterprise, it's impossible to succeed in the digital age without a dependable online presence. We understand that can be a daunting prospect for some, especially SMEs. 

But it needn't be. These days, there are a host of technologies available to help you build dependable online assets. If you were to speak to the Development experts at BBI, they'd tell you there's no clear frontrunner or one-size-fits-all platform — the one you choose will depend on your ambitions.

However, there are two top-rated development tools used the world over: Django and Laravel. Both frameworks set out to do the same thing, but each has a specific set of nuances and features. In this article, we'll talk a bit about their differences. So let's jump right in. 

What are Django and Laravel?

Django and Laravel are backend development frameworks. They allow a company to develop a complex product using simplified processes—the product, in this case, being a website or app. Instead of building every intricate detail and function from scratch, developers can use pre-built tools. 

Think of a framework as a pre-made 'skeleton' for your site, consisting of low-level infrastructure already designed. This saves time, money, and allows non-specialists to pull together a website. 

Frontend development deals with the intricacies of web design (UI) and how users interact with the site (UX). In other words, everything the user sees. Whereas backend development— and frameworks, such as Django and Laravel— deals with things they don't see. That's why it's also known as 'server-side development', primarily focusing on things like databases, backend logic, libraries, and APIs.

You could liken your website development to building a brand-new car. Your frontend development is what will deliver the car's stylish body design and essential interfaces, such as the dashboard and steering wheel. While it's the backend development that produces the engine, ensuring safe driving and power. To extend the analogy a little further, you can think of Django and Laravel as parts shops, where you might pick a car chassis or fuel tank without having to design them from scratch. 

How are Django and Laravel similar? 

As we mentioned, Django and Laravel are backend development frameworks, so naturally, they do share similarities. They both work towards the same goal: to make website development and applications faster, easier, and more intuitive. 

These free, open-source frameworks power some of the most popular sites and apps today, including Spotify and Instagram (Django). Laravel boasts Neighborhood Lender and Deltanet Travel among its roster.

As two of the most popular frameworks out there, you'll find vast online communities behind Django and Laravel. If you ever need some advice, you can turn to sites like Github, where you'll find thousands of contributors ready and willing to answer any questions. 

Critical differences between Django and Laravel

Programming language

The most significant difference between the two frameworks is the programming language. Django uses Python; an object-orientated language made popular thanks to its versatile nature. Meanwhile, Laravel uses PHP; a long-standing, general-purpose scripting language used for web development because it's embeddable in HTML. 

Architecture pattern

Django supports 'Model-View-Templates' or 'MVT' architecture pattern. This segregates the software into three respective channels, whereby the 'model' deals with the database and rendering of templates. The 'view' covers the business logic, and the 'template' is the user interface. 

In contrast, Laravel employs the 'Model-View-Controller' or 'MVC' pattern. Here, the 'model' again handles the database, yet the 'view' is the user interface, and the 'controller' manages inputs, manipulating data, and updating the view. 

Performance

That difference between programming languages does have implications for how these two frameworks perform. For instance, Python has a reputation for speed. Through checks for JSON serialisation in 2018, Django delivered 69,000 JSON responses/second, while Laravel managed just 8,000 responses/second. 

APIs

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are tools and protocols that allow your services or applications to talk to one another. They'll either be essential or largely irrelevant to what you're trying to achieve with your site. 

Either way, you'll find Laravel has excellent built-in support for API building. Unfortunately, it's not impossible in Django, as there isn't a built-in feature for APIs, so you'll need to employ a few workarounds. 

Security

Both frameworks have measures to protect your site and shore up vulnerabilities. However, Django places greater emphasis on website security. For instance, it highlights any common traps that might leave an exploitable opening and encourages users to employ the very best security measures.

Coding

Separate programme languages mean code looks different across the two platforms. For example, Laravel's appears more straightforward with readable, intuitive code that's more friendly for newcomers.

Conversely, Django code is more complex. That's because it uses the regular expression for the routing process; something it could take a while for beginners to understand.

When is it best to use Laravel?

Laravel is an excellent choice for anybody considering an intelligent, interactive, SEO-friendly website. Indeed, Laravel's PHP code is easier to group efficiently for pages that share common logic. 

There are many pre-packed tools to help you get off the ground when it comes to building web layouts and formatting data. Overall, it's a lightweight option designed to get you a great-looking site with as little hassle as possible – though its slower performance may not lend well to large and complex projects. 

When is it best to use Django?

Django's framework is better for large scale projects, as it's super scalable. However, coding with Django's Python language is more complex, so it may prove tricky if you don't have an expert doing all the legwork. On the other hand, if you need your site to create personalised feeds for users, Django's architecture pattern is the better choice by some distance. What's more, fantastic speed and security make it an excellent option for building e-commerce sites or applications. 

Need help?

If you'd like to know more about building an online presence, you're in the right place. We're BBI, a content-led performance marketing agency that specialises in developing everything from applications to websites. 

We love to demystify the digital world. So, whether you need help understanding SEO, employing smart and effective digital marketing tactics, or want to hear how personalisation could transform your customers' retail experience, get in touch today. We can help you get the ball rolling on your next project.