Switching to Django at Screenly

Two developers sitting with laptops switching the code base to Django.

Our development team is currently in the process of switching to Django. Read more below on our experience, learnings, and what’s next for the dev team at Screenly.

What is the background behind the Django switch?

Currently, most of Screenly’s code base is written on a self-written framework. This framework primarily sits on top of Bottle.

The major problem with self-written code is, well… you have to write it. In addition to writing the code from scratch, you need to maintain it, and this work can unnecessarily eat into your team’s ability to ship new features.

What is our goal with the Django switch?

With Django and the Django Rest Framework, our goal is for Screenly to move to a mature framework. These frameworks have large communities that maintain the code and regularly push security updates. Additionally, Django and Django Rest are easy to extend, if needed.

With a mature framework, our team can move faster. This capacity means we can release more features, make more security improvements, and respond more quickly to our customers’ needs.

Challenges we have encountered when switching to Django

The primary challenge of switching core frameworks is that it is extremely time-consuming. While we are confident that the benefits of Django will lead to a positive ROI in the future, we will only see those benefits after committing many hours to the switch.

Screenly has not made a complete migration to Django, as our development team still needs to release new features and cannot commit 100% of all sprints to the migration. However, at the moment, all new code we write is with Django.

As far as challenges with the framework itself, we have not experienced any. We can quickly achieve what we need, and there have not been any surprises. Additionally, anytime we have questions, it is easy to find a discussion on the topic online.

What is next with Screenly and Django?

We hope to complete our transition to Django in the next several months. At the moment, we are about halfway through our migration, and once we complete the migration, we will stay with Django as long as it fits our needs. Considering the time involved in switching frameworks, there would have to be a very unique and compelling reason to make a switch to another framework in the future.

Getting started with Screenly

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