Compare Tornado and Falcon

Tornado is a Python web framework and asynchronous networking library developed at FriendFeed. By using non-blocking network I/O, Tornado can scale to tens of thousands of open connections, making it ideal for long polling, WebSockets, and other applications that require a long-lived connection to each user. It is great for use cases that are I/O intensive (e.g., proxies) but not ideal for compute-intensive use cases.

Falcon is a minimalist WSGI library for building web APIs, app backends and microservices. Compared to Django and Flask, it is fast, extensible, reliable, and encourages RESTful style. It doesn't come with batteries included and is ideal for applications that require a high level of customization. The fminimalist design allows developers to select the best strategies and 3rd-party packages from the Python ecosystem.

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

Tornado

Falcon

Overall

Type

Type
Python web framework and asynchronous networking library, which does non-blocking I/O.
Type
The minimalist REST and app backend framework for Python with a focus on reliability, correctness, and performance at scale.

Author

Author

Release Date

Release Date
2009
Release Date
2012

License

License

Website

Adoption and Ease of Use

Popularity [?]

Popularity [?]
5 Stars
Used by 145,000 projects.
Popularity [?]
1 Star
Used by 5,000 projects.

Used by

Used by
FriendFeed, Turntable.fm, Fantamaster.it
Used by
LinkedIn, Leadpages, Wargaming, and Rackspace.

Jobs [?]

Jobs [?]
2.5 Stars
300 job openings which list Tornado as a requirement.
Jobs [?]
1.5 Stars
100 job openings which list Falcon as a requirement.

Performance [?]

Performance [?]
5 Stars
Excellent performance.
Performance [?]
5 Stars
Very fast, even when compared to microframeworks like Flask. See the benchmarks. *Caution* - The benchmarks are from the vendor itself.

Flexibility

Flexibility
5 Stars
Tornado is simple and flexible.
Flexibility
5 Stars
Very flexible. Ideal for applications that require a high degree of customization and performance tuning.

Ease of Learning

Ease of Learning
4 Stars
Tornado is not difficult to learn if the user is familiar with asynchronous and non-blocking I/O. The online resources, courses, and tutorials are not as plentiful compared to Flask or Django.
Ease of Learning
5 Stars
Has a slight learning curve but there are some great online resources, courses tutorials and YouTube videos.
Database Support

RDBMS Support

RDBMS Support
Through Plugins or Extensions
Through Plugins or Extensions
Being an asynchronous framework, Tornado doesn't play well with ORM frameworks. See this stackoverflow answer for more details. It doesn't come with a built-in ORM framework, but 3rd party libraries that can be used. Such as tornado-sqlalchemy, Tornado-MySQL (experimental), etc.
RDBMS Support
Built-in Support
Built-in
Doesn't ship with one but developers can use the database library of their choice such as SQLAlchemy.

NoSQL Support

NoSQL Support
No built-in support for NoSQL databases, but 3rd party libraries support asynchronous, non-blocking access. Motor is one such library from the makers of MongoDB. However, a lot of client libraries like DynamoDB appear to have been deprecated or not actively maintained.
NoSQL Support
Doesn't come with built-in libraries but makes it easy for developers to use library of their choice such as MongoEngine to interact with MongoDB.
Web & Core Features

Admin Dashboard

Admin Dashboard
No or Limited Support
No or Limited Support
No built-in admin panel. No well-known 3rd party tools either.
Admin Dashboard
Through Plugins or Extensions
Through Plugins or Extensions
Does not ship with a web-based admin.

REST Support

REST Support
No built-in support for REST API, but users can implement REST APIs manually.
REST Support
Encourages the REST architectural style by design. Resource classes implement HTTP method handlers that resolve requests and perform state transitions.

Security

Security
Built-in security mechanisms such as secure cookies, XSRF, DNS Rebinding and etc. Has been used in production for many years so security is generally decent.
Security
No built-in protection but minimal attack surface for writing secure APIs

Templating Library

Templating Library
Tornado uses custom templating library out of the box.
Templating Library
Doesn't ship with one but developers can use Jinja2 or Mako.

Web Forms

Web Forms
No built-in support.
Web Forms
Falcon features easy and efficient access to submitted multipart forms by using falcon.media.MultipartFormHandler.

Authentication

Authentication
Provides user authentication and also supports 3rd party authentication and authorization systems like Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Authentication
Not built-in but can be easily extended using authentication middlewares like falcon-auth2.

Testing

Testing
Built-in support using Python's unittest framework.
Testing
Support using unittest and pytest. Read more here.

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