Django vs Laravel vs Rails

Backend frameworks in all major languages are enhancing their functionality in each version to dominate the market. Each of them has its own set of market demand.

It is very confusing for developers to decide which framework is best for their projects and choosing which one to learn can be a real challenge facing newbies to modern frameworks. After working in three (Django, Laravel, and Rails - otherwise known as Ruby on Rails) frameworks, I am comparing these great frameworks on the basis of their motto, ease of learning, performance, strength & weakness of libraries and templates, support, future scope, job chances, cost, and maintenance. If you don’t know what frameworks are then read this post Introduction to Frameworks.

NOTE: The people who like their own framework are criticizing the weakness of their favorite framework. I cannot help this because the fact is the fact. Each framework has some advantages along with some disadvantages.

1. Introduction:

Programming language: The first major difference between these frameworks is that Django is in Python, Laravel is in PHP and Rails is in Ruby. If you are going to use any of these frameworks then you will have to learn its language. So due to this restriction, many developers choose frameworks that match their language knowledge. It is not hard to switch from one language to another but it does take some time. If you are confused about languages then here is the comparison of these languages - PYTHON vs PHP vs RUBY.

Motto: All of these frameworks are MVC frameworks and the motto of all these frameworks is "don't repeat yourself", i.e. reusability and portability. These all are free, open-source projects.

Also, see CMS vs MVC frameworks.

NOTE:

The people who raise the point that Django is MTV rather than MVC, please read this article. Django is much MTV, but it is MVC because the framework itself handles the controllers.

Websites: Some well-known sites that use Django include Pinterest, Instagram, Mozilla, The Washington Times, Disqus, the Public Broadcasting Service, and Bitbucket. Laravel is a new framework with an initial release in June 2011. After its release, it became very famous. Some websites in Laravel are Deltanet Travel, Sublimity, Neighborhood Lender, Sendity, and MyRank. Ruby on Rails is a great framework and some of the top websites using rails are Shopify, SoundCloud, Heroku, Github, Bloomberg, and Hulu. The migration of Twitter from Ruby on Rails to Nodejs has hurt its reputation badly.

2. Ease of learning

Although all three have a great community and official documents, learning Django and Laravel is much easier than Ruby on Rails. The offline docs for Django make it the easiest. If you are from a PHP background, then you can learn Laravel within just two to three weeks. The official docs are here: django docs, laravel docs, and rails docs. Here is django offline pdf.

3. Performance

Security: All three have a high level of security if the developer doesn’t make any mistakes. Django has middlewares, rails have active records and Laravel has HTTP Middleware. All three also provide csrf tokens for forms. There is no big security difference in these frameworks. It all depends on the experience of the programmer.

UPDATE: I noticed some readers point out that programmers are humans and they will make mistakes. In response to that, I will say that Django is the most secure and Laravel is the most unsecure. Read this article for Django security. Here is the Rails security guide. And here is the Laravel security guide. I will again state that there is no framework that is fully secure because framework developers as well as hackers are also humans. You can increase security but cannot make it 100% secure. If you write code very carefully, then all frameworks are the same for you in terms of security.

The time required to make an app: If you have a perfect understanding of the framework then making an application in Ruby on Rails is fastest as it is designed so that developers do not have to waste time on basic things and can focus on the core part of the application. In my experience, I have to write more lines of code for Laravel than Django and Ruby on Rails.

4. Strength & Weakness of library

Common things in all frameworks

  • All are MVC (Django is also called MTV but just the name is changed, the concept is the same).
  • All frameworks focus on the readability and simplicity of code and files distribution.
  • All do auto queries for databases. We do not have to write database queries directly. Although there is an option to execute raw queries for exceptional cases.
  • All automatically build tables in the database from Models/Migration files.
  • All frameworks have easy and secure routing systems. The webpages are rendered dynamically.
  • All have their own template systems and each template system is rich in filters and pre-defined functions. There is only a difference in the syntax. See blade template in laravel.
  • These all are flexible and portable with other modern technologies.

Django

Django has a very powerful library with the following features:

  • The built-in admin section, decorators, and generic view classes are the strength of Django
  • The auto-generated forms for models with validation make it very easy
  • A caching framework that can use any of several cache methods.
  • Support for middleware classes that can intervene at various stages of request processing and carry out custom functions.
  • An internal dispatcher system which allows components of an application to communicate events to each other via pre-defined signals.
  • An internationalization system, including translations of Django's own components into a variety of languages.
  • A serialization system that can produce and read XML and/or JSON representations of Django model instances.
  • An interface to Python's built-in unit test framework.
  • An extensible authentication system.
  • The dynamic administrative interface.
  • Tools for generating RSS and Atom syndication feeds.
  • A site framework that allows one Django installation to run multiple websites, each with their own content and applications.
  • Tools for generating Google Sitemaps.
  • Built-in mitigation for cross-site request forgery, cross-site scripting, SQL injection, password cracking, and other typical web attacks, most of them turned on by default.
  • A framework for creating GIS applications.
  • Socket connection via channels https://channels.readthedocs.io/en/stable/
  • Django Rest Framework (DRF) is a third party package used for REST API development.

Laravel

In the last few years, Laravel has developed faster than Django and Ruby on Rails. 

Also, see Laravel framework architecture.

  • Bundles and composer provide several bundle modular packaging systems and dependencies.
  • Routing - The easiest to manage and abstract way of routing. It just makes everything hassle-free, and the abstraction provided takes out each and every complexity. Laravel 7 has added support for APIs and Websocket Channels
  • Eloquent ORM support - Another service provided to abstract and automate the model part. Relationships and mapping of a database with our application with a simple convention over configuration technique.
  • Migrations - A way to version our database scripts in a much more elegant manner. No need to keep all the checks on migrations. A team working on a project can just pull the given migration, and all is set and ready to go.
  • Queue management - To abstract the unnecessary tasks and get them queued behind the scenes and make user response time much faster.
  • In-house support for Redis. It can also be extended to memcached.
  • Dependency Injection - Easy testing and automating dependency loading

Here is a comparison of Laravel Database vs Django Database https://www.flowkl.com/article/web-development/django-models-and-migrations-vs-laravel-eloquent-orm-and-migrations/

Rails

  • Ruby on Rails includes tools that make common development tasks easier "out-of-the-box", such as scaffolding that can automatically construct some models and views needed for a basic website. Also included are WEBrick, a simple Ruby web server that is distributed with Ruby, and Rake, a build system, distributed as a gem. Together with Ruby on Rails, these tools provide a basic development environment.
  • Active record: It plays a major role in rails applications. It is more magical than Eloquent ORM in Laravel and models in Django.
  • Shortcuts: Those people who come from other programming languages or frameworks consider it to be a magical framework due to a lot of shortcuts. Most of the things are pre-defined and you have to write only a few lines of code to make a complex application.
  • Auto routing: Some common functions on database tables like create, edit and show are automatically defined. It means that we do not have to spend any time on simple work and we can spend longer on the complex parts of the project.
  • Command-line: A lot of things can be done by the command line like using rake. Rake is Ruby Make, a standalone Ruby utility that replaces the Unix utility 'make', and uses a 'Rakefile' and .rake files to build up a list of tasks. In Rails, Rake is used for common administration tasks, especially sophisticated ones that build off of each other.
  • The ActiveModelHelper module contains helper methods for quickly creating forms from objects that follow Active Model conventions, starting with Active Record models.

5. Hosting Services:

You can run any application on a VPS or dedicated hosting service. Here are some links to some websites which allow you to host your project for free or on their shared hosting plans.

Django

Some of the websites which host the Django projects are WebFaction, PythonAnywhere, Heroku, Digital Ocean, Bulehost, Dreamhost, Arvixe and Google App Engine. Here is a comparison of the last four of these hosting services Cheap Django Hosting.

Laravel

You can host Laravel on Heroku, Bulehost, Inmotion Hosting, Site5, Dreamhost, Digital Ocean and Arvixe

Rails

Websites for rails applications are Heroku, Bulehost, Dreamhost, Arvixe, Hosting24 and Digital Ocean

6. Other Criteria:

All three are good frameworks so future scope, job chances, cost, and maintenance are almost the same. Raise of NodeJs frameworks has sunk the space for all of these three frameworks. Migration of Twitter from Ruby on Rails to NodeJs has hurt Rails reputation very badly.

Conclusion:

You can take any of these frameworks according to your programming language and experience. If you are here to decide which one you should learn, then my preference is for Laravel. Larvel is the easiest to learn and develop web apps quickly. If you are a Python lover then choose Django. Its high-level Models and QuerySet and auto-generated migrations save a lot of time. Learning Django will take relatively more time but it is not harder than Ruby on Rails. If you like to develop web apps fast (after learning), Ruby on Rails is the best choice.

Further Readings:

  1. PYTHON vs PHP vs RUBY
  2. Laravel Tutorials
  3. Simple blog application in Laravel 7


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About Harish Kumar

Harish, a technical core team member at www.lyflink.com with five year experience in full stack web and mobile development, spends most of his time on coding, reading, analysing and curiously following businesses environments. He is a non-graduate alumni from IIT Roorkee, Computer Science and frequently writes on both technical and business topics.

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