Compare Flask and web2py

Flask is a Python web framework for building web applications. It is based on Werkzeug and Jinja 2. It is a minimalist, 'no batteries included' framework. Yet it can be scaled extensively and support complex applications and use cases by adding required functionality as needed. It follows the philosophy that if something needs to be initialized, it should be initialized by the developer.

web2py was originally designed as a teaching tool, but it gained adoption outside of the academic world. It is a full-stack framework containing all the components needed to build fully functional web applications using the Model View Controller (MVC) pattern. Inspired by the Ruby on Rails and Django. It is not very popular right now but was ranked amongst top Python web frameworks in 2011.

Let's see how Flask and web2py compare on various factors and features and which to choose when.

Flask

web2py

Overall

Type

Type
Python microframework for building web applications.
Type
Python full-stack for building web applications.

Author

Release Date

Release Date
2010
Release Date
2007
Adoption and Ease of Use

Popularity [?]

Popularity [?]
5 Stars
Used by 397,000 projects.
Popularity [?]
0.5 Star
Used by 36 projects.

Used by

Used by
Netflix, Zillow, Lyft.
Used by
Not in use at any large company.

Jobs [?]

Jobs [?]
2.5 Stars
1067 job openings which list Flask as a requirement.
Jobs [?]
0.5 Star
8 job openings which list web2py as a requirement.

Performance [?]

Performance [?]
5 Stars
Because it is minimal and doesn't have a lot of overhead, Flask is very performant. Extensions could impact performance negatively.
Performance [?]
3 Stars
Web2py takes a unique approach where models and controllers are executed in a single global environment, which is initialized at each HTTP request. While there are pros to this approach, such as developers never having to worry about cleaning up or avoid conflict between requests, the major disadvantage is that the code is models is executed with every request which carries a performance penalty.

Flexibility

Flexibility
5 Stars
Very flexible and doesn't require users to use any particular project or code layout. (A structured approach is still recommended.)
Flexibility
3 Stars
Not as flexible as microframeworks, but doesn't always get in the way.

Ease of Learning

Ease of Learning
5 Stars
Flask is simple and its core features are not difficult to learn. There are also plenty of online resources available to aid in learning.
Ease of Learning
2 Stars
Limited online tutorials and resources, and many are several years old. The best resource for learning is web2py author's own "web2py Complete Reference Manual", which seems to be written in 2013.
Database Support

RDBMS Support

RDBMS Support
Through Plugins or Extensions
Through Plugins or Extensions
Flask doesn't come with a built-in ORM framework. Developers can use one of many open source libraries or extensions. Such as Flask-SQLAlchemy, Flask-Pony, etc.
RDBMS Support
Built-in Support
Built-in
Ships with a Database Abstraction Layer (DAL) which supports MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, and many other relational databases.

NoSQL Support

NoSQL Support
NoSQL databases are supported through open source libraries or extensions. To use MongoDB with Flask, Flask-PyMong is a popular choice. CouchDB, Cassandra, and DynamoDB are also supported via libraries.
Verdict Flask is a great choice if you want to develop for a NoSQL database.
NoSQL Support
No built-in support. Very limited support for NoSQL databases. Currently, it only supports Google Datastore on the Google App Engine.
Web & Core Features

Admin Dashboard

Admin Dashboard
Through Plugins or Extensions
Through Plugins or Extensions
No built-in admin panel, but you can use the Flask-Admin extension. It supports a number of backends like SQLAlchemy, MongoEngine, Peewee etc.
Admin Dashboard
Built-in Support
Built-in
Yes ships with a built-in admin panel.

REST Support

REST Support
Supported via extensions such as Flask-RESTful, Flask-Classful, Flask-RESTPlus.
REST Support
Has some support.

Security

Security
Despite being a minimalist Framework, Flask does an excellent job of addressing common security concerns like CSRF, XSS, JSON security and more out of the box. 3rd party extensions like Flask-Security can be used for common security measures. However, it requires that developers evaluate these extensions carefully for security risks and apply timely updates manually when vulnerabilities are discovered.
Security
Built-in protection against input injections, XSS, and common vulnerabilities. Read more here. It has known security vulnerabilities. Please see list here.

Templating Library

Templating Library
Flask uses Jinja2 out of the box.
Templating Library
Uses custom web2py templating language out of the box.

Web Forms

Web Forms
No built-in support but there is Flask-WTF extention. For SQLAlchemy support, that is, to create forms based on models, there is WTForms-Alchemy
Web Forms
Built-in support. Read more here.

Authentication

Authentication
Only provides support for cookie-based sessions but there are extensions available for authentication, authorization and account management.
Authentication
Includes a Role Based Access Control mechanism (RBAC), which is sufficient for many use cases.

Testing

Testing
Built-in support using Python's unittest framework.
Testing
Can be done using Python's unittest framework or using the doctest.

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