Compare Tornado and web2py

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.

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 Tornado and web2py compare on various factors and features and which to choose when.

Tornado

web2py

Overall

Type

Type
Python web framework and asynchronous networking library, which does non-blocking I/O.
Type
Python full-stack for building web applications.

Author

Author

Release Date

Release Date
2009
Release Date
2007

Website

Website
Adoption and Ease of Use

Popularity [?]

Popularity [?]
1 Star
Used by 84,000 projects.
Popularity [?]
0.5 Star
Used by 36 projects.

Used by

Used by
FriendFeed, Turntable.fm, Fantamaster.it
Used by
Not in use at any large company.

Jobs [?]

Jobs [?]
0.5 Star
20 job openings which list Tornado as a requirement.
Jobs [?]
0.5 Star
8 job openings which list web2py as a requirement.

Performance [?]

Performance [?]
5 Stars
Excellent performance.
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
Tornado is simple and flexible.
Flexibility
3 Stars
Not as flexible as microframeworks, but doesn't always get in the way.

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
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
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
Ships with a Database Abstraction Layer (DAL) which supports MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, and many other relational databases.

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
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
No or Limited Support
No or Limited Support
No built-in admin panel. No well-known 3rd party tools either.
Admin Dashboard
Built-in Support
Built-in
Yes ships with a built-in admin panel.

REST Support

REST Support
No built-in support for REST API, but users can implement REST APIs manually.
REST Support
Has some support.

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
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
Tornado uses custom templating library out of the box.
Templating Library
Uses custom web2py templating language out of the box.

Web Forms

Web Forms
No built-in support.
Web Forms
Built-in support. Read more here.

Authentication

Authentication
Provides user authentication and also supports 3rd party authentication and authorization systems like Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
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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