Background

A few months ago I started my journey to build my first web app, Rental Tensor (excuse the horrible name 😎). As a trained statistician disguised as a Techy Data Scientist I love playing with a mix of code and data, but felt like it was difficult to create anything really useful without some sort of web backbone to host or serve my projects. As the old proverb says: “a great model stuck on your hard drive is just some code”. While I am familiar with Shiny which can be used to serve models to real users via a web format (without leaving R!), I felt like it was time for me to learn how to host a more robust and flexible service.

Tools

I was looking around at all of the different frameworks to make dynamic web applications and felt extremely overwhelmed. Ruby on Rails seemed like a clear ‘top’ choice used by Airbnb, GitHub, and Hulu, while some companies were using all Javascript (?!). I guess PHP is still a thing that some people love, and so many other options that I had never heard of. Since I regularly use Python for work and fun, and is used in so many data science applications, I narrowed my search to just Python web frameworks. Now that I removed 90% of my options I simply had to choose between two options: flask and Django. Since one blog I read said something like ’Django

Learning Django

Learning Django (enough to put together somethnig somewhat functional) consisted of me following allong three totorials: the classic Django Polls tutorial, the