What is Django?
Django is an open source web framework based on Python. A web application framework is a suite of interlocked programs that help people create dynamic web services such as blogs and apps. What is the difference between a site created in Django and one created on the CUNY Academic Commons or a CBOX (Commons in a Box) installation like the CUNY Futures Initiative? Well, the Academic Commons is a WordPress installation. While it is easy to create a simple site on the platform, users are restricted to WordPress plugins and themes, and these must be vetted by site administrators before they can be enabled for use.
Django is a lower level experience that trades some of the simplicity of a content management system such as WordPress for increased power and flexibility. WithDjango, you have the ability to deploy where you like and endlessly customize your site to fit your needs. If you need a class website that can handle uploading large PDFs or a gamified site that reacts dynamicly to student input, Django is the framework for you.
What is special about the Python community?
The Python community is one of the most welcoming and diverse of all the open source communities. It is no secret that the world of free and open source software has lagged in terms of diversity. According to Libby Clark, only “25 percent of proprietary programmers identify as women, and in free software, that number is less than 3%.” Python, to its credit, has made diversity a priority. The Python Software Foundation and organizations such as Scientific Python offer financial support for underrepresented groups.
Where to learn?
You can get started with Django using one of these free books and tutorials. If you’re in the New York City area, you can also find mentorship and support at the weekly Django Hack Night.
What if I am completely new?
In the tradition of Python outreach, Django Girls is hosting an introductory event on March 28th. Django Girls is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people (and especially women) to start working in the Django framework. The event is sponsored by Github and the Django Foundation and space is limited. Apply here to participate. Unfortunately, this pilot event has only fifty seats, so act quickly to reserve your place. I’ll be coaching at the event, so hope to see you there!