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Python Development April 13, 2023

Unpacking Django’s API Views: Choosing Between Generics and Viewsets

Writen by Dharmesh Patel

18,375

Generic API Views

Generic API views are built-in Django views that provide a simple way to handle common use cases for RESTful APIs. These views provide a lot of functionality out of the box, such as handling GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE requests, pagination, filtering, and sorting. This makes them an excellent choice for smaller projects with basic requirements.

Advantages of Generic API Views

  • Easy to use: Since they are built into Django, you don’t need to install any additional packages or libraries to use them.
  • Less code: Generic API views require less code than custom views, which can save you time and effort.
  • Consistent: Generic API views are built with a consistent interface, which can make it easier to learn and use them.

Disadvantages of Generic API Views

  • Limited flexibility: Generic API views are built to handle common use cases, so they may not be flexible enough to handle more complex requirements.
  • Limited customization: While you can customize generic API views to some extent, you may not be able to achieve the level of customization you need for your project.

Viewsets

Viewsets are another option for handling views in the Django REST framework. Viewsets are built on top of Django’s generic views and provide more functionality out of the box. Viewsets are a good choice for larger projects with complex requirements.

Advantages of Viewsets

  • More functionality: Viewsets provide more functionality than generic API views, including support for nested resources, multiple authentication schemes, and permissions.
  • More flexibility: Viewsets are more flexible than generic API views, making it easier to customize them to meet your specific requirements.
  • Reusability: Viewsets are designed to be reusable, so you can use the same viewset for multiple resources.

Disadvantages of Viewsets

  • More code: Viewsets require more code than generic API views, which can make them more time-consuming to develop.
  • Steeper learning curve: Viewsets are more complex than generic API views, so it may take longer to learn how to use them effectively.

Customization and Flexibility

  • Generic API Views: Limited customization options as they are designed to handle common use cases. They may not be able to achieve the level of customization required for more complex projects.
  • Viewsets: More flexible than generic API views, allowing for customization to meet specific requirements. Viewsets provide more functionality than generic API views, including support for nested resources, multiple authentication schemes, and permissions. Viewsets are a good choice for projects that require more complex customization and flexibility.

Code Organization

  • Generic API Views: Simple to use and require less code than custom views. They are built with a consistent interface, making them easy to learn and use. Generic API views are a good choice for small projects with basic requirements.
  • Viewsets: Require more code than generic API views but provide more functionality out of the box. Viewsets are designed to be reusable, allowing the same viewset to be used for multiple resources. Viewsets are a good choice for larger projects that require more code organization and structure.

Reusability

  • Generic API Views: Limited reusability as they are designed to handle specific use cases. They may not be able to be reused across multiple resources.
  • Viewsets: Designed to be reusable, allowing the same viewset to be used for multiple resources. This makes them a good choice for projects that require a high level of code reusability.

Read more: Test Django App with Pytest

When to Use Which?

So, when should you use generic API views and when should you use viewsets? Here are some general guidelines:

  • Use generic API views for small projects with basic requirements.
  • Use viewsets for larger projects with complex requirements that require more functionality and flexibility.
  • If you need to customize your views extensively, use viewsets.
  • If you need to reuse views for multiple resources, use viewsets.
  • If you need to handle nested resources, use viewsets.

Summary

  • In summary, viewsets provide more flexibility and customization options than generic API views, making them a good choice for larger and more complex projects. However, generic API views are simpler to use and require less code, making them a good choice for small projects with basic requirements. Viewsets also offer better code organization and reusability, allowing for the same viewset to be used across multiple resources.

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