Source

django / docs / faq / general.txt

FAQ: General
============

Why does this project exist?
----------------------------

Django grew from a very practical need: World Online, a newspaper Web
operation, is responsible for building intensive Web applications on journalism
deadlines. In the fast-paced newsroom, World Online often has only a matter of
hours to take a complicated Web application from concept to public launch.

At the same time, the World Online Web developers have consistently been
perfectionists when it comes to following best practices of Web development.

In fall 2003, the World Online developers (Adrian Holovaty and Simon Willison)
ditched PHP and began using Python to develop its Web sites. As they built
intensive, richly interactive sites such as Lawrence.com, they began to extract
a generic Web development framework that let them build Web applications more
and more quickly. They tweaked this framework constantly, adding improvements
over two years.

In summer 2005, World Online decided to open-source the resulting software,
Django. Django would not be possible without a whole host of open-source
projects -- `Apache`_, `Python`_, and `PostgreSQL`_ to name a few -- and we're
thrilled to be able to give something back to the open-source community.

.. _Apache: http://httpd.apache.org/
.. _Python: http://www.python.org/
.. _PostgreSQL: http://www.postgresql.org/

What does "Django" mean, and how do you pronounce it?
-----------------------------------------------------

Django is named after `Django Reinhardt`_, a gypsy jazz guitarist from the 1930s
to early 1950s. To this day, he's considered one of the best guitarists of all time.

Listen to his music. You'll like it.

Django is pronounced **JANG**-oh. Rhymes with FANG-oh. The "D" is silent.

We've also recorded an `audio clip of the pronunciation`_.

.. _Django Reinhardt: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Django_Reinhardt
.. _audio clip of the pronunciation: http://red-bean.com/~adrian/django_pronunciation.mp3

Is Django stable?
-----------------

Yes. World Online has been using Django for more than three years. Sites built
on Django have weathered traffic spikes of over one million hits an hour and a
number of Slashdottings. Yes, it's quite stable.

Does Django scale?
------------------

Yes. Compared to development time, hardware is cheap, and so Django is
designed to take advantage of as much hardware as you can throw at it.

Django uses a "shared-nothing" architecture, which means you can add hardware
at any level -- database servers, caching servers or Web/application servers.

The framework cleanly separates components such as its database layer and
application layer. And it ships with a simple-yet-powerful
:doc:`cache framework </topics/cache>`.

Who's behind this?
------------------

Django was originally developed at World Online, the Web department of a
newspaper in Lawrence, Kansas, USA. Django's now run by an international team of
volunteers; you can read all about them over at the :doc:`list of committers
</internals/committers>`

Which sites use Django?
-----------------------

`DjangoSites.org`_ features a constantly growing list of Django-powered sites.

.. _DjangoSites.org: http://djangosites.org

.. _faq-mtv:

Django appears to be a MVC framework, but you call the Controller the "view", and the View the "template". How come you don't use the standard names?
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, the standard names are debatable.

In our interpretation of MVC, the "view" describes the data that gets presented
to the user. It's not necessarily *how* the data *looks*, but *which* data is
presented. The view describes *which data you see*, not *how you see it.* It's
a subtle distinction.

So, in our case, a "view" is the Python callback function for a particular URL,
because that callback function describes which data is presented.

Furthermore, it's sensible to separate content from presentation -- which is
where templates come in. In Django, a "view" describes which data is presented,
but a view normally delegates to a template, which describes *how* the data is
presented.

Where does the "controller" fit in, then? In Django's case, it's probably the
framework itself: the machinery that sends a request to the appropriate view,
according to the Django URL configuration.

If you're hungry for acronyms, you might say that Django is a "MTV" framework
-- that is, "model", "template", and "view." That breakdown makes much more
sense.

At the end of the day, of course, it comes down to getting stuff done. And,
regardless of how things are named, Django gets stuff done in a way that's most
logical to us.

<Framework X> does <feature Y> -- why doesn't Django?
-----------------------------------------------------

We're well aware that there are other awesome Web frameworks out there, and
we're not averse to borrowing ideas where appropriate. However, Django was
developed precisely because we were unhappy with the status quo, so please be
aware that "because <Framework X> does it" is not going to be sufficient reason
to add a given feature to Django.

Why did you write all of Django from scratch, instead of using other Python libraries?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When Django was originally written a couple of years ago, Adrian and Simon
spent quite a bit of time exploring the various Python Web frameworks
available.

In our opinion, none of them were completely up to snuff.

We're picky. You might even call us perfectionists. (With deadlines.)

Over time, we stumbled across open-source libraries that did things we'd
already implemented. It was reassuring to see other people solving similar
problems in similar ways, but it was too late to integrate outside code: We'd
already written, tested and implemented our own framework bits in several
production settings -- and our own code met our needs delightfully.

In most cases, however, we found that existing frameworks/tools inevitably had
some sort of fundamental, fatal flaw that made us squeamish. No tool fit our
philosophies 100%.

Like we said: We're picky.

We've documented our philosophies on the
:doc:`design philosophies page </misc/design-philosophies>`.

Is Django a content-management-system (CMS)?
--------------------------------------------

No, Django is not a CMS, or any sort of "turnkey product" in and of itself.
It's a Web framework; it's a programming tool that lets you build Web sites.

For example, it doesn't make much sense to compare Django to something like
Drupal_, because Django is something you use to *create* things like Drupal.

Of course, Django's automatic admin site is fantastic and timesaving -- but
the admin site is one module of Django the framework. Furthermore, although
Django has special conveniences for building "CMS-y" apps, that doesn't mean
it's not just as appropriate for building "non-CMS-y" apps (whatever that
means!).

.. _Drupal: http://drupal.org/

How can I download the Django documentation to read it offline?
---------------------------------------------------------------

The Django docs are available in the ``docs`` directory of each Django tarball
release. These docs are in reST (reStructuredText) format, and each text file
corresponds to a Web page on the official Django site.

Because the documentation is `stored in revision control`_, you can browse
documentation changes just like you can browse code changes.

Technically, the docs on Django's site are generated from the latest development
versions of those reST documents, so the docs on the Django site may offer more
information than the docs that come with the latest Django release.

.. _stored in revision control: https://code.djangoproject.com/browser/django/trunk/docs

Where can I find Django developers for hire?
--------------------------------------------

Consult our `developers for hire page`_ for a list of Django developers who
would be happy to help you.

You might also be interested in posting a job to http://djangogigs.com/ .
If you want to find Django-capable people in your local area, try
http://djangopeople.net/ .

.. _developers for hire page: https://code.djangoproject.com/wiki/DevelopersForHire