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Lightweight and flexible: Flask fundamentals for software web development

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Flask is a lightweight web framework enabling software engineers to create applications easily. Alongside Django and Pyramid, Flask belongs to the group of frameworks for Python development. Let us consider the specificities of three of them to give you more background for today’s topic. 

  1. Flask emphasises flexibility and simplicity.  What is Flask used for? This framework is known for its minimalistic approach to web development and is a perfect fit for small and medium-sized projects. Noteworthy, Flask gives developers more control over the app’s components and overall structure. 
  2. Django is more suitable for large-sized applications with high-level abstractions. It encompasses embedded features, such as database ORM, authentication, admin interface, etc. 
  3. Pyramid is an in-between option: it is a general-purpose framework with moderate complexity and features set. This framework allows for taking advantage of a balanced approach, providing libraries and components for developers of choice. 

Today’s post, however, does not touch upon Python Flask vs Django differences. It focuses on Flask and considers Flask’s strong features, some debugging options and the deployment process. So, what are the primary advantages of the framework? 

Flask: simplicity, flexibility, and other benefits 

  1. Simplicity and easy-to-understand syntax. If your project implies a maintainable and clean codebase or you are at the very start of your career as a developer, Flask is an option to consider. 
  2. Flask is modular and lightweight. The framework offers basic instruments and leaves a possibility to customise the rest. The modular approach brings benefits in scalability and customisation. 
  3. A broad community of users. The supportive community and extensive documentation simplify finding solutions to users’ queries. 
  4. Built-in server and debugging. Flask’s debugger facilitates the testing process and ensures robust debugging. 
  5. ReSTful Request Dispatching. The framework supports RESTful request dispatching, which allows programmers to create ReSTful solutions effectively. 
  6. Seamless integration with libraries. Flask possesses features for seamless integration with Python libraries, so its functionality can be easily expanded. 
  7. Flexible integration with databases. Flask integrates with SQL and NoSQL, allowing you to choose a database that perfectly responds to your project needs. 

For Flask software development, it is critical to understand key web development concepts (HTTPS requests, routes and responses). The first concept is HTTPS Requests, which serve as a foundation for data exchange. Simply put, HTTPS requests are client messages enabling you to initiate an action on your server. Routes are utilised to map URLs to particular functions in the solution. The app defines the relevant logic to execute based on the URL accessed. In Flask, there are several response types (what the server usually sends back to the client): JSON data, HTML content, and redirection to another endpoint. 

Error handling and debugging in Flask

  1. Custom error pages. Compared to disturbing generic server error notifications, custom error pages in Flask are more user-friendly. 
  2. Debugging. In Flask, you can use the debugger in development mode. It helps you promptly understand what goes wrong when an error appears. 
  3. Logging. You may configure Flask to log different kinds of activities, which helps monitor and diagnose issues effectively. While working with Flask, define an area of logging that is beneficial for your project to unleash the whole potential of the web framework. 
  4. Try-except brocks. As the name suggests, this instrument allows for handling exceptions and ensuring your solution’s recovery from unexpected errors. 

How to use Flask for deployment and further development processes

Before deployment, you have to diligently test your solution on a local server. Hence, any issues or bugs will be identified and solved before you go live. After testing on a local server, you can proceed to the following steps:

Advanced Flask features and more resources for your learning

For larger applications, Flask offers extra features, namely Blueprints. For building REST APIs, you can use Flask-RESTful. If you need a function set for real-time communication, feel free to utilise Flask-SocketIO. To unleash the full potential of the Flask framework in Python, keep track of its latest updates: the framework evolves rapidly. Reading official documentation and watching online tutorials are also indispensable to your learning. If you are interested in application development based on Flask, don’t hesitate to contact the PNN Soft team. We will gladly help you implement the best technological advances for your project.