Django Rest Framework vs Django: The Key Differences

When it comes to web development using Python, Django stands out as a solid and versatile framework.  However, as your projects progress, you may need to develop sophisticated APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to enable seamless communication between the front and backend.

This is where the Django Rest Framework (DRF) comes in, providing a layer of specialization for developing RESTful APIs. In this lesson, we’ll look at Django Rest Framework vs Django to help you choose the proper tool for your web development needs.

What is an API?

API (Application Programming Interface) allows two computers to communicate with one another. Simply put, you call an API endpoint with some arguments and receive a response.

What is a RESTful API?

A REST (Representational State Transfer) API adheres fully to the REST requirements. It should be remembered that REST is neither a protocol nor a standard.

A REST API provides the requester with a representation of the state of the stored resources via an endpoint.

  • JSON
  • HTML
  • Python
  • PHP
  • Plain text

Another concern about the REST API is that headers and parameters are necessary. They may contain identification information, such as identity or authorization. The headers may also employ various methods, such as POST, PUT and GET.

To be termed a RESTFUL API, an API must satisfy the following constraints:

  • There should be a client-server architecture in which resources are handled using HTTP.
  • Data should be cacheable, which enhances client-server interactions.
  • The client-server communication must be stateless. Stateless indicates that no data should be stored between queries. Each request stands alone and is not related to others.
  • The interface should be consistent, and information must be conveyed in a standard format.

Differences between Django and Django REST Framework

Despite their closeness in name, Django and Django REST frameworks serve distinct objectives. Django is a high-level Python web framework that promotes rapid development and clean, pragmatic design.

It enables the development of sophisticated web apps with minimal coding while also providing tools for managing the site’s administrative responsibilities. The fundamental purpose of Django is to make it easier to create complicated database-driven websites.

Django Rest framework vs Django

Django Rest framework, for its part, is a powerful and flexible toolkit for developing web APIs on top of Django.

While Django manages the entire web application, including both frontend and backend components, DRF is used to provide RESTful APIs that enable interaction and communication between various software components.

DRF makes it easier to create CRUD processes and leverage Django Server as a REST API.

The Django Rest framework makes use of Django’s capabilities to help developers create scalable, maintainable, and secure APIs.

It follows Django’s ideals, such as DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself), and prioritizes reusability and modularity.

In essence, DRF expands Django’s functionality. When used together, these technologies can greatly speed up the development process while maintaining a balance of robustness and simplicity.

Django is a full-stack web framework

Django is a high-level web framework that uses the Model-View-Template (MVT) architectural pattern.

It features a comprehensive suite of tools for developing web applications from the bottom up. Django has comprehensive functionality, including URL routing, template rendering and database administration.

Key Features of Django

  • Full-Stack Capability: Django enables you to create complete web applications, including both the frontend and backend.
  • Compatibility: Models, Views, and Templates (MVT) are important to Django’s architecture, stressing structure and concern separation.
  • ORM System: Django has a strong Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) system that simplifies database interactions while adhering to the Don’t Repeat Yourself principle.

Django Rest Framework specializes in APIs

As the name implies, the Django Rest Framework is a Django plugin designed primarily for creating RESTful APIs.

While Django can manage API development, DRF accelerates the process by introducing features and abstractions that simplify common API tasks.

Key Features of Django Rest Framework

  • API-Centric Design: DRF is built with APIs in mind, including features like serialization, authentication, and view sets to make API development easier.
  • Integration with Django: Django Rest Framework works perfectly with current Django applications, making it an obvious choice for improving API capabilities.
  • Code Efficiency: DRF decreases the amount of code required for API development, encouraging code reuse and maintenance.
  • Support for Frontend Frameworks: While Django can handle frontend development on its own, DRF is especially beneficial when using frontend frameworks such as React or Angular, as it ensures flawless communication between the frontend and backend.

When to Use Django Alone and When to Opt for DRF

Use Django Alone When:

  • You are creating a typical web application with server-side rendering.
  • The frontend requirements are modest, and you do not require the functionality offered by frontend frameworks.
  • Use Django Rest Framework for creating a modern web application with complicated frontend frameworks.
  • Developing a RESTful API to manage data transfer between the frontend and backend efficiently.


How much does Django RESTful API development cost?

The cost of establishing a Django RESTful API is determined by the project’s complexity, development time, the developers’ competence level, geographical location and the integration of other technologies.

Simple projects may cost a few thousand dollars, while more complex ones may cost tens of thousands. Prices vary, so it’s best to get many quotations for a more exact estimate based on your individual needs.

Is it simple to construct web applications using the Django REST Framework?

The Django REST framework (DRF) is useful in many ways and provides a variety of benefits, including outstanding usability due to a web-browsable API, authentication policies that include packages for OAuth1 and OAuth2, and serialization that supports both ORM and non-ORM data sources. It is also fully customizable, comes with rich documentation, and has excellent community support.

How do I manage the process of developing a REST API in Python Django?

This can be accomplished using test-driven development (TDD), a methodology that focuses on developing tests before implementing your application’s business logic.

This has numerous advantages, including faster feedback and explicit specifications, less time spent revising and in the debugger, a lower development time to market, SOLID code, and more.

TDD shows you if your most recent update (or refactoring) broke previously working code. It also demands a dramatic simplicity of the code, which should only be produced in response to test requirements.

Can I use the Django REST Framework for small and large-scale projects?

Yes, you may use DRF for both small and large-scale projects. It is highly scalable and versatile, making it appropriate for projects of all sizes. Its versatility enables it to be as basic or complicated as necessary, catering to a wide range of project requirements.

For smaller projects, it can speed up development, but for larger, more sophisticated projects, it can handle massive amounts of data and traffic, delivering solid and efficient solutions.

Are there any security considerations while creating APIs with the Django REST Framework?

Yes, security is important while utilizing the Django REST Framework. Ensure adequate authentication and authorization, use HTTPS for secure data transmission, check and sanitize inputs, apply throttling, and define clear CORS policies.

Regularly update the framework and its dependencies, as well as conduct security audits, to discover and fix potential vulnerabilities.

How does the Django REST Framework handle data serialization?

The Django REST Framework supports data serialization with serializers, which transform complicated data types, such as Django models, into Python data types. The serializers in DRF act as a link between sophisticated querysets and native Python datatypes, allowing for a simple translation into JSON or XML format for API consumption.


To summarize, the Django Rest Framework vs Django are complementary tools that address various areas of web development. Django is the go-to framework for full-stack web applications, whereas the Django Rest Framework simplifies the process of creating strong APIs.

Depending on your project requirements, you can use Django alone or with the Django Rest Framework to construct APIs more efficiently. Understanding the strengths of each tool will allow you to make more educated decisions as you start your web development adventure.



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