Getting started with website frameworks: Django, Ruby on Rails, and more

Getting started with website frameworks: Django, Ruby on Rails, and more

Sandi Lin
July 16, 2013
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Learning to program is the beginning of your journey to building your own apps . If your goal is to eventually build a complete website, you’ll save lots of time by understanding the world of website frameworks.

What’s a website framework?

Let’s think of building a website like opening a grocery store. To open a grocery store, some of the first things you’ll do are:

  • Constructing or remodeling a building
  • Setting up equipment like refrigerators, shelves, and cash registers

For programmers, using a website framework is like setting up an empty grocery store. With just a few commands, you can easily construct the key infrastructure pieces of the website – just like empty shelves waiting to be filled in.

Setting up your store

Continuing with our grocery store example, some of the activities you’ll do next are:

  • Managing purchase orders from vendors
  • Tracking inventory
  • Pricing
  • Accepting customer payments

For programmers, these activities are equivalent to coding website features (in fact, an e-commerce website uses the same activities as above!). This is where programming languages come into play, and each website framework is based on a different language. The Django framework uses the Python language, the Ruby on Rails framework uses the Ruby language, the ASP.NET framework uses the C# language… and there are many, many more.


Once you have your grocery store working, you’ll want to make it inviting for your customers, since no one likes to shop in an ugly environment. For example, you’ll be:

  • Designing the look and feel of the store (colors, layout)
  • Painting the walls and creating helpful signage

To make websites look inviting and usable, you’ll be using the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript languages. These fit nicely into the website frameworks, alongside your core programming language above (e.g. Python or Ruby).

Congratulations! You now have a complete grocery store website!

Recommendations for getting started

Once you have a basic grasp of programming languages, website frameworks will help you create websites much faster than if you were to write everything from scratch. Here are our favorite courses for getting started!

  • For Ruby on Rails (based on Ruby): $40 One Month Rails (Skillshare)
  • For Django (based on Python): $49 Python and Django Beginners Package (Udemy)
  • For ASP.NET (based on C#): $25/month ASP.NET Essential Training (
  • For Spring (based on Java): $29/month Introduction to Spring MVC (Pluralsight)
  • For CodeIgniter (based on PHP): $29 Beginners Guide to CodeIgniter (Udemy)

Do you have other website frameworks you like to use? Let us know in the comments!

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