In the world of the Web, information can’t be slow.
News agencies are facing a critical time in their development, one that will determine if they push forward or have to knuckle under as print media slowly moves out of the spotlight. Some pundits say that the golden age of paper has already ended, but one thing is for certain: the Web has changed the way the news must be printed. For any news-related organization, the challenge is to not simply keep up with the times, but ensure that you forge ahead of them, and can deliver accurate and informational content to users on a consistent basis.
One option for news sites that are seeking a more streamlined way to conduct their online operations is a program known as “Django”. The software was born from a Web newspaper operation known as World Online, and in 2003 began to use Python in the development of its Web sites. Over the course of two years, the Python code was tweaked and improved, and in 2005 the resulting software, Django, was made open-source and free to the public. The name itself is pronounced “Jang-oh”, with a silent “D”, and comes from the name of Django Reinhart, arguably one of the great guitarists of all time. According to the Django Web site, you’ll like his music.
Django’s Web framework is built on the DRY principle, which is an acronym for “don’t repeat yourself”. The idea here is that duplication, be it inadvertent or purposeful, can lead to maintenance nightmares, logical fallacies and the real possibility of a contradiction that can bog down a system. The principle itself is stated as, “every piece of knowledge must have a single, unambiguous, authoritative representation within a system”, and it is this that helps Django continuously create news software that delivers.
Newsrooms are constantly under pressure to deliver, and it is the intention of Django to provide a community-developed tool to help news outlets deliver their online content in a timely manner and in a way that is effective and easy on the eye for users. Requirements for the Django software start with Python, as a company must be running a version of Phyton from 2.4 up to 2.7, and for those that want to use Python with a database, one run by PostgreSQL is recommended, but the software will also run with MySQL, SQLite 3 and Oracle. According to the Django Web site, “backends” for Sybase SQL Anywhere, IBM DB2 and Firebird are also available, though they are made by 3rd parties.
Django hosting can be done on a local server, virtual server, cloud server, or can be provided as an SaaS solution. Each option can offer a number of benefits, depending on company needs and the number of users expected on a site. Django VPS hosting, for example, can provide more continuous and stable access to resources, access that a local server option may not be able to match. Django VPS hosting, especially when installed on a VM with very little clutter, can provide excellent performance.
A number of popular Web sites currently use Django for their Web news needs, including Toronto Life, Tabblo, lawrence.com and washingtonpost.com. With Django’s easy set-up and its origins as a piece of dedicated Web news software, the program is able to offer not only the power needed to get stories out on time and make sure deadlines are met, but can do so at no cost to a news agency.