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Apache Tomcat vs Flask: What are the differences?


Apache Tomcat and Flask are two popular web frameworks used for developing and deploying web applications. While both serve a similar purpose, they differ in several key aspects. In this article, we will explore the key differences between Apache Tomcat and Flask.

  1. Server vs. Microframework: The first major difference between Apache Tomcat and Flask is the level of their functionality. Apache Tomcat is a full-fledged web server and servlet container, designed to support Java-based web applications. On the other hand, Flask is a microframework written in Python, providing the basic functionalities required for web development, such as routing and request handling. Unlike Tomcat, Flask does not function as a standalone server and needs to be deployed on a separate server.

  2. Language Support: Another significant difference between Apache Tomcat and Flask is the programming language they support. Apache Tomcat primarily supports Java-based applications and is optimized for running Java servlets. In contrast, Flask is specifically designed for Python-based web development. This means that if you are familiar with Java, Apache Tomcat would be a better choice, whereas Flask is the preferred option for developers who prefer working with Python.

  3. Scalability and Performance: When it comes to scalability and performance, Apache Tomcat has an advantage over Flask due to its server-centric nature. Apache Tomcat is optimized for handling large-scale enterprise-level applications, providing robust performance and scalability features out of the box. Flask, being a lightweight microframework, may struggle to handle high levels of traffic and scale up to the same extent as Tomcat. However, Flask can also be used in conjunction with other tools and technologies to enhance its scalability and performance.

  4. Application Architecture: Apache Tomcat follows a more traditional monolithic architecture, where the entire application is usually packaged as a single deployable unit. This unit can be easily deployed and managed within the Tomcat server. In contrast, Flask promotes a more flexible and modular approach to application development. Flask allows developers to build applications using different modules or components, facilitating better code organization, reuse, and maintainability.

  5. Community and Ecosystem: Both Apache Tomcat and Flask have active and vibrant developer communities, offering a wide range of resources and support. However, due to its broader scope and popularity, Apache Tomcat has a larger ecosystem with numerous plugins, libraries, and extensions available for developers. Flask, being a microframework, has a more focused community and ecosystem, but still provides a good number of extensions and integrations to enhance the development experience.

  6. Learning Curve: Lastly, the learning curve for Apache Tomcat and Flask can also be a differentiating factor. Apache Tomcat is known for its steep learning curve, especially for beginners with limited experience in Java web development. On the other hand, Flask is relatively easier to learn and get started with, especially for Python developers. The simplicity and minimalism of Flask make it an attractive choice for rapid prototyping and small to medium-sized projects.

In summary, Apache Tomcat is a powerful and feature-rich server container for Java-based web applications, offering scalability and performance advantages. Flask, on the other hand, is a lightweight microframework specifically designed for Python developers, providing a flexible and modular approach to web development. Choosing between Apache Tomcat and Flask depends on the application requirements, programming language preference, and scalability needs.

Advice on Flask and Apache Tomcat
Senior Solutions Analyst · | 8 upvotes · 343.3K views

My journey to developing REST APIs started with Flask Restful, and I've found it to be enough for the needs of my project back then. Now that I've started investing more time on personal projects, I've yet to decide if I should move to use Django for writing REST APIs. I often see job posts looking for Python+Django developers, but it's usually for full-stack developers. I'm primarily interested in Data Engineering, so most of my web projects are back end.

Should I continue with what I know (Flask) or move on to Django?

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Replies (1)
Rafael Torres
Technical Lead at 4Agile · | 9 upvotes · 333.8K views

If you want to be a Web developer with knowledge in another frontend and NoSql technology, maybe continue with Flask. However, if you want to create very fast solutions to grow up with a new business and merge these with data analysis and other tools, Django is the answer. Basically read more about the service architecture where you feel more comfortable, Microservice or Monolithic, but please will not married with any because they solve issues to different contexts.

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Girish Sharma
Software Engineer at FireVisor Systems · | 6 upvotes · 272K views
Needs advice

Which is the best Python framework for microservices?

We are using Nameko for building microservices in Python. The things we really like are dependency injection and the ease with which one can expose endpoints via RPC over RabbitMQ. We are planning to try a tool that helps us write polyglot microservices and nameko is not super compatible with it. Also, we are a bit worried about the not so good community support from nameko and looking for a python alternate to write microservices.

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Bottle is much less bloated and fast. Its built-in templating system is one of the fastest as it compiles the templates in bytecode. Also Bottle has no depenencies, preventing dependency bloat.

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Saurav Pandit
Application Devloper at Bny Mellon · | 6 upvotes · 288.6K views

I have just started learning Python 3 weeks ago. I want to create a REST API using python. The API will be used to save form data in an Oracle database. The front end is using AngularJS 8 with Angular Material. In python, there are so many frameworks to develop REST APIs.

I am looking for some suggestions which REST framework to choose?

Here are some features I am looking for:

  • Easy integration and unit testing, like in Angular. We just want to run a command.

  • Code packaging, like in java maven project we can build and package. I am looking for something which I can push in as an artifact and deploy whole code as a package.

  • Support for swagger/ OpenAPI

  • Support for JSON Web Token

  • Support for test case coverage report

Framework can have features included or can be available by extension. Also, you can suggest a framework other than the ones I have mentioned.

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Replies (1)

For starters flask provides a beautiful and easy way to create REST APIs. Also its supported by excellent beginner docs as well as a very active community. Another good thing with Flask is its widely available list of plugins which allow you to build as you go. Its also good in performance and can scale to a quite decent level. However, if you are sure your project is going to be fairly big, it would be better to start with Django as it provides a lot of features out of the box and is extremely stable in performance. Both these frameworks have support for Swagger, JWT, Coverage Report although you have to install plugins for them. Deploying both of these are fairly simple and there is huge documentation available. Django has one of the best documentations I have come across. I hope I was able to answer your queries.

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Decisions about Flask and Apache Tomcat

I was in a situation where I have to configure 40 RHEL servers 20 each for Apache HTTP Server and Tomcat server. My task was to 1. configure LVM with required logical volumes, format and mount for HTTP and Tomcat servers accordingly. 2. Install apache and tomcat. 3. Generate and apply selfsigned certs to http server. 4. Modify default ports on Tomcat to different ports. 5. Create users on RHEL for application support team. 6. other administrative tasks like, start, stop and restart HTTP and Tomcat services.

I have utilized the power of ansible for all these tasks, which made it easy and manageable.

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Pros of Flask
Pros of Apache Tomcat
  • 14
  • 10
    For it flexibility
  • 9
    Flexibilty and easy to use
  • 8
  • 7
    User friendly
  • 6
  • 5
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
    Beautiful code
  • 1
    Easy to get started
  • 1
    Easy to develop and maintain applications
  • 1
    Not JS
  • 1
    Easy to use
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
    Easy to setup and get it going
  • 1
    Perfect for small to large projects with superb docs.
  • 1
    Easy to integrate
  • 1
  • 1
    Get started quickly
  • 1
  • 1
    Simple to use
  • 1
  • 1
    Rapid development
  • 0
    Open source
  • 0
    Well designed
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
    Love it
  • 79
  • 72
  • 49
  • 1
    Spring web

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Cons of Flask
Cons of Apache Tomcat
  • 10
    Not JS
  • 7
  • 5
    Not fast
  • 1
    Don't has many module as in spring
  • 2
    Blocking - each http request block a thread
  • 1
    Easy to set up

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What is Flask?

Flask is intended for getting started very quickly and was developed with best intentions in mind.

What is Apache Tomcat?

Apache Tomcat powers numerous large-scale, mission-critical web applications across a diverse range of industries and organizations.

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