Learning Django can be an exciting journey for anyone looking to develop web applications, but it can be intimidating at first. In this article, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to learn Django effectively.
We’ll explore the prerequisites, the time it takes to become proficient, and various resources to help you master Django. Additionally, we will delve into how JetBrains Academy’s Python course and PyCharm can accelerate your Django learning process, along with some tips to support your journey.
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Before we dive into the specifics of learning Django, let’s start with an overview of what Django is and why it’s so popular.
What is Django?
Django is an open-source web framework that encourages rapid development, clean code, and the “Don’t repeat yourself” (DRY) principle. It provides tools and libraries that simplify web development, making it easier for developers to create web applications with less effort. Django is known for its robustness and follows the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architectural pattern, which helps organize code efficiently.
Some key features of Django include:
- ORM (object-relational mapping) for managing databases.
- Built-in admin interface for content management.
- Authentication and security features.
- URL routing for clean and organized URLs.
- Extensive support for templating with the Django template language.
- Scalability and the ability to handle high-traffic loads.
To learn about Django in more detail, read our What Is the Django Web Framework? article.
Prerequisites to learning Django
To help you learn Django faster, there are some prerequisite skills that we advise you to be aware of:
1. Python: Django is a Python web framework, so a solid understanding of Python is essential. So, if you’re new to Python, we highly advise you to learn the basics first and build a foundation before you start learning Django.
2. Web Development: Familiarity with HTML, CSS, and basic web development concepts will go a long way in helping you get started learning Django.
3. Database: A basic understanding of databases and SQL will be useful as Django involves database manipulation.
Once familiar with these building blocks, you’ll find grasping Django concepts much easier and quicker.
How long does it take to learn Django?
The time it takes to learn Django varies from person to person. It depends on your prior experience, the effort you put in, and the resources available. It may take a few months for someone with a programming background and familiarity with web development to become proficient in Django. However, it may take longer if you’re new to programming and web development.
Here are a few factors that can affect the learning duration:
1. Consistency: Regular practice and consistent effort are key to learning any programming language.
2. Project-based learning: Building real projects while learning Django can be more effective and engaging than theoretical study.
3. Learning resources: The quality of the learning resources, such as courses, books, and tutorials, can significantly impact the speed of your progress.
4. Mentorship: Having a mentor or joining a supportive community can provide guidance and motivation, making learning faster.
5. Learning tools: Utilizing the right tools helps you streamline the development process, which brings us to the next section.
How PyCharm enables fast Django learning
PyCharm offers numerous features to streamline Django development that are ready to use as soon as you download the IDE. This is especially helpful for beginners as you won’t have to figure out how to set up PyCharm for Django development. It’s just ready to go out of the box.
Here are some ways PyCharm can accelerate your Django learning process:
- Django project type:
- PyCharm provides a dedicated project type for Django, making it easy to set up and manage Django projects.
- When you create a new Django project in PyCharm, it automatically installs the required dependencies, sets up the project structure, and creates a run configuration for you. This simplifies the initial project setup and allows beginners to focus on learning Django rather than dealing with project configuration details.
- The Django Structure tool window provides a quick way to create, refactor, and navigate the main components of your Django project. You can also access the manage.py panel there.
- Check out how PyCharm makes it easier to jump-start your Django project, doing all the preparational work for you so that you can save your inspiration for real work!
- Django templates support:
- PyCharm offers comprehensive support for Django templates, such as navigating between templates and views, live preview, and more.
- PyCharm provides code completion, syntax, and error highlighting for Django template files, helping users to spot and fix issues more easily.
- PyCharm also has live preview for Django templates, which lets you preview Django templates while editing them.
- Django live templates are predefined code snippets that you can quickly insert into your code by typing a specific abbreviation and pressing the Tab key.
- Django live templates can help you be more productive and reduce the amount of manual typing you need to do when working on Django projects. They include commonly used patterns for models, views, forms, and other Django components. You can also create your own templates.
- Make sure to watch the following video for a short tutorial on Django live templates:
- Code insight and code completion:
- PyCharm offers intelligent code insight and completion for models, views, and other Django-specific elements.
- Developers can benefit from suggestions and auto-completion, which can help reduce the learning curve and improve coding speed.
- manage.py integration:
- PyCharm integrates with Django’s manage.py command-line tool.
- This integration provides a dedicated tool window for running manage.py tasks directly from the IDE.
- Code completion and quick documentation are available for manage.py commands, making it easier for learners to understand and use various management tasks.
- Endpoints overview for APIs:
- PyCharm provides an overview of all declared URLs and endpoints for projects involving API development with Django in the Endpoints tool window.
- This feature helps developers visualize the structure of their API and quickly navigate to specific endpoints.
- It enhances understanding of the project’s API architecture, which is particularly valuable for learners exploring Django for web services and APIs.
Download PyCharm for Django
Other PyCharm features:
- Database tools: Managing databases in Django is more convenient with PyCharm. You can view and edit database records, perform queries, and visualize your database schema, all within the IDE.
- Integrated terminal: PyCharm has an integrated terminal, which is particularly handy for running Django management commands, performing database migrations, and managing virtual environments – again, all from within the IDE.
- Version control: PyCharm supports version control systems like Git, allowing you to track changes in your code and collaborate with others more effectively. This is crucial when working on real-world Django projects. You can also easily clone and open projects from Git, which is important when you’re learning and using open-source projects from there.
- Debugging: PyCharm provides powerful debugging tools to help you identify and fix issues in your Django applications. Our visual debugger can save you a significant amount of time during development.
- Code With Me: This is a collaborative coding feature in PyCharm that allows developers to work on the same codebase in real time, enabling collaborative coding and debugging sessions.
Ready to get started? Watch this video for a tutorial on how to Create your first Django app in PyCharm.
Learning path: an introduction to Django by JetBrains Academy
The Django track from JetBrains Academy has everything you’ll need as someone who’s new to Django. You’ll start out as a rookie, but by the time you’re done with the course, you’ll be equipped with all the skills you need to start creating your own Django projects.
This course is a must-have resource for learning Django, and here’s why:
- Comprehensive curriculum
The learning track covers Python fundamentals and gradually introduces Django as part of its curriculum. You’ll not only be learning Django but also the Python language itself, which is essential for mastering Django, as mentioned earlier in this guide.
- Start coding from day one
You can expect a lot of hands-on coding practice with this course. You’ll work on real projects and complete tasks that will reinforce your understanding of Django concepts. Practical experience is crucial in becoming proficient in Django development, and we believe that practice is better than theory. What’s more, this learning track is integrated with PyCharm, so you can learn Django without ever having to leave the IDE.
- Community and support
You’ll be a part of a supportive community where you can connect with more than 700,000 learners, share your progress, and seek help when needed.
Are you ready to start learning Django?
Learn Django now with JetBrains Academy
Additional learning materials and resources
In addition to JetBrains Academy, there are numerous other resources available to assist you on your Django learning journey:
1. Django’s official documentation
When in doubt, always refer to Django’s official documentation. It is an excellent resource for understanding the framework in-depth and covers everything from installation to advanced topics.
2. Online courses and tutorials
Websites like Udemy, Coursera, edX, and Pluralsight offer Django courses and tutorials that cater to different learning styles and preferences. TalkPython also has an extensive course that covers Django from the basics, and Real Python has an in-depth tutorial you can follow for free.
There are several excellent books available for learning Django, such as:
- Django for Beginners by William S. Vincent
- Two Scoops of Django by Daniel Roy Greenfeld and Audrey Roy Greenfeld
- Boost Your Django DX by Adam Johnson
4. YouTube channels and podcasts
Numerous YouTube channels provide video tutorials on Django development. Channels like Corey Schafer’s have in-depth video tutorials on Django. DjangoChat is one of the most popular podcasts on Django right now, which is also very popular in the community. It’s definitely worth checking out.
5. Blogs and forums
Blogs like Real Python and forums like Stack Overflow can be valuable sources of information and solutions to common Django-related issues, even highly specific ones! Other forums include:
- The /django and /djangolearning subreddits on Reddit.
- The forum on the official Django website.
Tips to speed up learning Django
Here are some extra tips to accelerate your Django learning process.
1. Start with a solid Python foundation
A firm grasp of Python fundamentals will help you understand Django more easily. Consider taking a Python course or reading a book on Python before diving into Django. The Django track on JetBrains Academy will help you take care of that.
2. Work on projects
The best way to learn Django is by working on real projects. Start with simple applications and gradually take on more complex projects. Apply what you learn as you go.
3. Learn from the documentation
Django has excellent official documentation. Familiarize yourself with it and refer to it often. It’s a valuable resource for understanding Django’s features and capabilities.
4. Join a Django community
Participating in Django-related communities and forums can provide you with valuable insights, solutions to common issues, and networking opportunities.
5. Practice regularly
Consistency is key. Dedicate time to Django learning every day or week, depending on your schedule. Regular practice will reinforce your understanding.
6. Stay in the loop
Django evolves, and new features are added. Stay up to date with the latest version and best practices by following Django’s release notes and community discussions or subscribing to Django-related newsletters.
7. Seek mentorship
If possible, find a mentor who can guide you and provide feedback on your projects. Mentorship can significantly accelerate your learning and provide you with insider tips that are usually only properly understood by experienced developers.
Now that you know how to learn Django, it’s time to start taking action. We’d highly recommend starting with the Django track on JetBrains Academy, which will guide you from the basics. Moreover, it comes with a free trial for PyCharm Professional, which is an essential tool when it comes to Django development.
Ultimately, the time it takes to learn Django depends on your dedication and the quality of the resources you choose to engage with. With patience and persistence, you can become a proficient Django developer and create powerful web applications in no time.
Happy Django learning!
By: Maha Taqi
Originally published at: JetBrains Blog