Dan Rowden

Why I picked a new framework over Django for my new thing

I've been building with Django almost exclusively since about 2009.

Building with Django has become second-nature, and the framework has become almost like my coding buddy as I've built products like Subsail, ilo, Cove, Tolta (sold) and Refermo (closed).

It's incredible being able to have an idea and just start building, without scanning the internet for which framework to use or reading pages and pages of docs just to get started.

And copying and re-using code between projects means I get a boost every time I've started something new.

So why pick a new tool?

It feels like Javascript is taking over the world of web development.

I have had a kind of love-hate relationship with Javascript over the past 20 years. I used jQuery years ago and that was about as far as I got. Compared to Python, Javascript always felt a bit flimsy and hard to write.

I never picked up one of the many Javascript frameworks or tools that have sprouted up since I picked up Django because I was just so comfortable using what I was using. And I didn't have time to spend learning something new when I could do everything I wanted already.

This time, it's different. After listing ilo and Cove for sale during the past two years and talking to potential acquirers, it looks like Django is a bit of a wild card. I plan to build, grow and then sell my next product, so I want to build it in something solid and popular, so that a potential buyer will be able to just keep building.

Watching tens of people on Twitter sell their products over the past year or so, a lot of them were built in Javascript.

It looks like Javascript, particularly Next.js, is a good bet.

It means, however, that I'll miss out on all of the benefits I literally just listed above 😅

I've spent hours reading docs and figuring out which auth package/platform to use, with database service to go with etc. It's a brand new frontier for me, and that's really exciting two decades into building on the web.

Learning a new tool and staying up-to-date with new developments in the market is only a good thing. Plus, it will also help me in my job in Developer Relations (we've had a lot of demand for Next.js-based tutorials and demos).

So I've just embarked on a brand new journey. Next.js is my new companion and I'm hoping we will get along OK as we build something "huge" together.

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