How to build APIs in Python: 8 popular frameworks


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Application programming interfaces allow for the linking of databases and the sharing of data across apps. With APIs, two applications can communicate with each other without understanding how the other works. APIs can be scaled easily and used across applications without having to rewrite new code for each new project.

Hence it’s important for Python developers to be able to create APIs using different frameworks to connect to other services and create a streamlined workflow. Python is one the most versatile programming languages designed to handle the rigors of API development. It’s preferred for API creation because of its user-friendliness, less complex syntax and extensive library support.

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Top 8 Python web frameworks

Flask Restful

Flask Restful is a Python-based micro-framework used by developers to make micro web services. It has a very lightweight module which makes it easy to build and implement APIs quickly. With just a few lines of code, you are ready to initialize Flask and start using it to create your API.

Flask also allows APIs to be organized in modules for more complex APIs that comprise multiple endpoints. With Flask, you can customize every aspect of your application by adding custom fields and inputs based on your data type.

Eve

Eve is a REST API framework built upon Flask and Cerberus that is used by developers to make API development simple and fast. It creates highly customizable RESTful web services effortlessly. The Eve framework is relatively minimalist and is better suited for small to mid-sized projects.

Eve supports a full range of REST and CRUD compliance, customizable endpoints, CORS, Cross-Origin, resource pagination, sorting, resource sharing, HATEOAS, Neo4js, data validation, Elasticsearch, MongoDB and filtering.

The tool comes with advanced features such as authentication, rate limiting and caching. It also features community extensions that make it easy to integrate with SQL databases.

Django REST

Django is a Python-based REST framework used frequently by developers to build extremely fast and reliable APIs. The tool supports templating, routing, forms, authentication and management tools by default. It features simple constructs for users, loops and conditionals to allow developers to rapidly write numerous lines of new code.

Django integrates with MongoDB, DynamoDB and SQLite which make it a powerhouse for managing immense data sets. It supports automatic URL routing and features multiple in-built authentication policies. Django also has serialization which supports both ORM and non-ORM data sources.

This is the best tool if you don’t want to rework any existing code or write new code because it comes with extensive documentation. There’s also a very active community support for newcomers.

Falcon

Falcon is a high-performance REST framework focused on quality control. It is used to build reliable application backends and microservices. Being WSGI compliant, Falcon is compatible with multiple servers and platforms, and it comes with a built-in server and debugger.

The APIs created with Falcon have a simple and clean design that makes them lightweight. They also require minimal setup and are easy to test and maintain.

Falcon Supports routing, integrated unit tests, secure cookies, URI utilities and Python versions 2.6, 2.7, 3.4+ and 3.5+. It’s easily integrated with NoSQL and it is compatible with Pypy.

Bottle

Bottle is a lightweight and simple WSGI micro web framework for API development. It’s a single-file module that has no dependencies other than the Python Standard Library.

Bottle APIs are created with no routing so they can be made as simple or as complex as required. They also have a flexible structure that allows you to group APIs into sub-modules and middleware components.

Bottle supports mako, Jinja 2 and cheetah templates. It has a built-in HTTP development server and it also supports paste, fapws3, bjoern, gae and cherrypy. The tool features intelligent routing accounts for cleaner, customizable and logical URLs for requests and function calls.

TurboGears

TurboGears is a lightweight web framework built on the MVC pattern that creates APIs in both Python and JavaScript. It acts as a full stack framework or as a micro framework.

TurboGears supports multiple template engines, but the main one has always been a fully validated XML template engine. The current version of TurboGears runs on a Kajiki engine template which makes it faster than Django. Because of its speed, it implements a lot of optimizations behind the scenes to provide high-performance APIs.

Turbo supports templating, pagination, authentication and authorization, caching, a few databases and schema migration.

FastAPI

FastAPI is one of the most efficient and high-performance Python API frameworks. It is a full web framework package in one. FastAPI has a compact coding structure that claims to allow code to be developed 200% to 300% faster than with other API development frameworks. It comes with other features such as authentication, validation and error handling.

The tool is primarily used to build asynchronous web applications, as it is founded on Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. FastAPI features Swagger user interface to call and test APIs from a browser. It claims to reduce 40% of bugs generated by developer errors in the code and it can minimize the duplication of code.

The tool supports an intuitive editor and VSCode/PyCharm with autocompletion. It comes with an integrated security and authentication and dependency injection system to handle all the dependencies automatically.

FastAPI is fully compatible with Starlette and Pydantic and it also supports application testing using PyTest, SQL databases, NoSQL databases and GraphQL.

Tornado

Tornado is a Python web framework and asynchronous networking library built to handle high traffic. It features a non-blocking network I/O that enables numerous simultaneous connections. Tornado provides a separate SDK interface for building APIs. It is used to create lightweight web application backends and REST API server interfaces with backend business logic.

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Tornado can detect and apply source file changes by automatically reloading server connections. It includes an HTTP server and client interface as well as a WebSocket interface for bidirectional communication with WebSocket servers. It has the essential middleware features required for handling HTTP requests, templating and routing.

The tool supports third-party login in conjunction with OpenID, OAuth and Graph API. It also supports co-routines that makes it ideal for building long polling and persistent connection based web backends.

Conclusion

APIs are growing in popularity, and they have become the backbone of the modern internet.  Choose the  ideal framework for you based upon the needs of your development project.



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