Using Python and Django to build the new DataCleaner website

I have for a long time been a dedicated Java developer and in many ways, still am. But developing the new website for DataCleaner have been quite an eye-opener for the potential of dynamic languages and Python in particular. There are so many things about that language that I love and I must say that doing the same thing in Java would have taken at least twice the time! And thats even though I'm not an unexperienced Java developer.

OK, so what's the big difference? Well, deployment is one very crucial difference. J2EE servers are great for stability and system administration but often I find myself, as a web developer, not needing all those things that much - I just need a server that always runs and will tell me what I am doing wrong. Django (which have been my Python web-framework) have been excellent in doing this for me so I can kick-start my application in a matter of seconds.

Type-safety is another big difference. Java is type-safe, Python (and other dynamic languages) is not. For back-end development I am a big advocate of type-safety but in front-end development dynamic classes are such a great treat! An example of this is when transfering data from Controllers to the View in the Django framework's Model-View-Controller architecture. If you want to present some domain objects that are related in the view, but not in the domain model (or perhaps the domain model has some details to it that you want to skip for understandability), then you just infer a completely new attribute into the domain object! In Java or other type-safe languages such as C#, you would typically have to create a Map for storing the new particular association and then do a lookup in the view to resolve the association. This means more "logic" in the view and code that is harder to comprehend.

All in all I'm very happy to use Django. I would have liked a few more features in their QuerySet API (especially aggregation queries, which should be on the way) but then again - for the typical website it is pretty sufficient and allows fallback to native SQL. Thank you Django.

Note: This is not to say that I am abandoning Java, not at all! I love Java for it's stability and superior integrational capabilities, but in some cases, I simply want something that is fast and more in tune with the user experiencing and prototyping process of building websites.

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