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Bringing NoSQL to the people: Now Django

Django is one of the most popular Python frameworks, the one that Google picked to integrate with their Google App Engine PaaS. Thanks to a GSOC project, Django has added now ☞ support for multiple databases and that includes NoSQL stores:

Multiple TYPES of databases. This is the one I’m most excited about. This is going to enable people to use some of the NoSQL databases […]

The multi-database support is right now only in the development trunk — documentation can be found ☞ here — so it might take a while until a Django release will include it and I’m not sure this feature will be backported. But this is definitely just another validation for the NoSQL world.

As far as I know, even before this announcement, there were some efforts to integrate NoSQL solutions with Django and the one I know about is ☞ Neo4j for Django:

The way that the integration between Django and Neo4j is implemented is in the Model layer. Since Neo4j does not have a SQL engine it would not have been efficient or practical to implement the support as a database layer for Django. Google did their implementation in the same way when they integrated BigTable with Django for App Engine. This means that there will be some minor modifications needed in your code compared to using PostgreSQL or MySQL. Just as with BigTable on App Engine, you will have to use a special library for defining your models when working with Neo4j, but the model definition is very similar to Djangos built in ORM.

Now, you might wonder why I do believe that getting NoSQL support in (popular) frameworks is an important step. For the last year or so, the NoSQL stores have been under scrutiny for their technical value and I’d say that, by now, this phase is almost over. Next came the business validation and there are good signs that NoSQL world sees some traction there too.

So, what is left? The simple answer is bringing NoSQL to the people. And by this I mean making it easy to adopt one or the other NoSQL solution and having seamless and standardized integration with existing frameworks and tools. Making it easy to switch from classical RDBMS based solutions to NoSQL solutions or even hybrid SQL-NoSQL solutions is both important and critical for adoption. Ease of adoption will bring us a lot of new use cases and that will make further adoption even easier. And that is the guarantee for a bright NoSQL future.

Update: Even if there were ways to use NoSQL solutions with Django (take for example this intro to using CouchDB with Django), I think the new integration layer will make things feel more natural. I read that here is already a CouchDB Django database adapter and also a demo of using MongoDB with Django. And I bet more will come, so keep an eye on our list of NoSQL libraries.