Python is a most versatile programming language, and it allows us to perform complex tasks easily. In this tutorial, we will learn about the top Python framework widely used to build APIs. Before that, let’s understand what API is and how it works.
What is API?
API is an acronym of the Application Programming Interface. It is a software intermediary that enables communication between the two applications. For example – We purchase the product from an online shopping portal and make payment using the API.
Let’s take a real-world example, suppose you are in a restaurant with the menu and ready to give an order. The Kitchen is like a “system” that will prepare your ordered food, how the Kitchen knows what you have ordered or how you can communicate with the chef to make your order.
Here the waiter API comes in. The waiter will take your request to the Kitchen – the system will prepare the food. Then the waiter will deliver the food in a back response.
Top Frameworks to Build API
There are number of frameworks available but not all of them are meant for API. Below are some popular and important frameworks.
- Django Rest Framework
Django REST is a powerful Django-based framework that the developer uses to create the APIs. In Django REST, REST stands for Representational State Transfer. It is used for web-based architecture for data communication. The HTTP request is used to call between machines. There are four standard methods used in the Django REST framework – GET, PUT, POST, and DELETE.
It provides the simplest way to create rich APIs. We can install the Django REST framework using the PIP command. To work with the Django REST framework, the Python version should be 3.5+, and a Django must be installed in the system.
Django REST Features –
Huge active community across the world.
It is trusted by the organization such as Red Hat, Mozilla, and Heroku.
It also provides the support of testing, debugging and caching.
Automatic support for the URL routing for Django.
It takes less code to build a complex API.
There are vast numbers of default tools that make it difficult to learn for the newbies.
The new programs may run into the problem while packaging components due to a lack of proper guidance.
2. Flask REST Framework
Flask REST framework is the same as the Django REST framework. It is used to build API quickly. Flask is known for doing a lightweight project, and it requires a few lines of code to build API.
With the help of this framework, a developer can easily create the API, and many new features are adding to the Flask REST framework.
Flask RESTful Features –
Flask is very lightweight framework and easy to install.
It provides the default security for the threats like injection attacks, data integrity checks, etc.
Offers the facility to add the custom fields and input based on the data type.
It comes with the representation() decorator that support other representations as XML, CSV, HTML.
The marsal_with() decorator is used for data formatting.
It can’t be used in the larger MVC projects.
However, the Flask is highly flexible; the early customization time can delay expansion and production.
Falcon is a high-performance web framework that is used to build large-scale application backbends and microservices. We can develop the API using an object-oriented and class-based interface. It is highly compatible with multiple servers.
Kurt Griffiths developed Falcon in 2013. Through, there are extensive community provides valuable input. It follows HTTP and REST architecture style that is used to create clear designs. This framework is concerned with quality control.
Falcon Features –
It is lightweight and requires minimal setup.
It provides rapid development.
Integrated with NoSQL
Comes with a build-in server and debugger for the development.
Provides fast performance.
It is not suitable for HTML pages.
Lack a built-in web server.
Its documentation is less comprehensive than the other frameworks like django and flask.
Pyramid is a hybrid web framework that acts as a bridge between Django and Flask. It can be used in both types of projects, neither too big nor too small. Django follows the Pyramid’s progress on social media via Twitter and a Google Group. Pyramid’s developers are continuously working towards its development; they released the tenth release since its debut. The current version of Pyramid is 1.10.
Pyramid Features –
Pyramid is used to file building, thus packaging in foolproof manner. It provides a safety net, especially for newcomers.
It supports all versions of Python.
It allows developers robust API, URL mapping, and high extensibility via add ons.
Users can create a fairly sizeable project template.
Pyramid comes with the bootstrapping tool called pcreate which compatible with numerous templates based on SQLAlchemy and ZODB.
Its template syntax can be relatively complicated.
XHTML structuring can seem foreign and complex, migrating from Django.
As the name suggests, FastAPI is the fastest and high-performing Python framework for building APIs. This framework can develop API 200 to 300% times faster. Its community is growing significantly. It is based on the ASGI, which is majorly used for building asynchronous web applications.
Interactive API documentation
Minimize the duplication of code.
It is highly secure and built-in authentication.
Unlimited support for plugins.
There is intuitive editor support (VSCode/PyCharm) with auto completion.
It takes lot of time in the request validation.
Crowded main file.
No singleton in Dependency Injection.
Eve framework is built on the top of Flask and Cerberus. It makes the API development simple and fast. It can create the REST web services effortlessly, which are customizable. Eve is generally used for the mid-sized project. Nicola Iarocci developed this framework in early 2013, and it has been updated 33 times since its debut.
Eve Features –
By default, it supports filtering, sorting, resource pagination, and HATEOAS.
It supports the full range of CRUD operations.
Supports CORS, Cross-Origin Resource Sharing.
It comes with advanced features such as SQL Databases, MongoDB, ElasticSearch, and Neo4js.
It is suitable for mid-level projects; it can’t handle the large project.
It takes time to hunt down the suitable extension.
Cherry is a minimalist web framework, and it is object-oriented and HTTP/1.1 compliant. The primary aim of CherryPy is to provide speedy development. It shrinks all the source codebases. It was developed by Remi Delon and released in 2002. Now, it is maintained by the CherryPy community. CherryPy has the mailing list. Leading video streaming company Netflix use CherryPy to build block for select projects.
CherryPy Features –
Object-oriented programming cuts off the development time and also the codebase size.
It comes with the built-in tools for authentication, static content, caching, and session.
It can server both dynamic and user-dependent content as well.
It provides the built-in support for JSON.
Sessions may not be enabled by default.
User with permission can access any file, if page handlers are not written properly.
The cornice is a REST framework for Pyramid, which offers a helper to build REST web services. It takes care of HTTP specifications in an automated way where possible.
It provides three fields in messages – sender, content, color, (red or black).
Adding a message is done by authentication.
One path in cornice is equal to one service.
Supports URL prefixing for all your routes.
Single channel is available for messages.
If a user with the same name is already registered, he/she cannot register.
All messages and users stored in the memory.
This tutorial included most used and popular frameworks that widely used to create APIs. Each framework has merits and demits and user can choose any of them according to their requirements.