Benchmarking Python Frameworks for Real-Time Dashboards: Django Channels vs Flask SocketIO

This post provides an in-depth comparison and benchmark of two popular Python frameworks for building real-time dashboards: Django Channels and Flask SocketIO. It covers their ease of use, architecture, performance, scalability, and overall development experience to help developers choose the right framework for their next real-time application.

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Benchmarking Python Frameworks for Real-Time Dashboards: Django Channels vs Flask SocketIO

Real-time dashboards that update instantly as new data arrives are becoming increasingly popular. They allow you to monitor metrics and key performance indicators in real-time to make faster data-driven decisions. In this post, we will benchmark two Python frameworks for building real-time dashboards - Django Channels and Flask SocketIO. We will look at their architecture, ease of use, performance, and scalability to help you pick the right framework for your next real-time application.
Before we dive into the benchmarks, let's briefly explain what Django Channels and Flask SocketIO are and how they enable real-time capabilities:

Django Channels

Django Channels extends Django and enables building real-time applications efficiently. It provides an ASGI server and a channel layer that handles complex routing, messaging, and concurrency out of the box.
Key capabilities:

  • Built on top of Django which means you can leverage all its benefits
  • Supports WebSocket and long-polling transports
  • Handles routing, messaging, concurrency very efficiently
  • Horizontally scalable with channel layers like Redis

Flask SocketIO

Flask SocketIO wraps the SocketIO library to enable real-time capabilities in Flask apps. It establishes a WebSocket connection to constantly stream data between the client and server.
Key capabilities:

  • Very easy to get started with real-time capabilities
  • Supports WebSocket and long-polling transports
  • Efficiently handles messaging and namespacing
  • Horizontally scalable by deploying copies of the app

With this background, let's now benchmark Django Channels and Flask SocketIO across a few key criteria.

Ease of Use

Both Flask SocketIO and Django Channels are easy to get started with real-time capabilities.
Flask SocketIO takes minutes to add real-time events to an existing Flask app. You import SocketIO, initialize it, and use decorators to define event handlers. The simplicity and lightweight nature of Flask carries over to Flask SocketIO as well.
On the other hand, Django Channels has a slightly steeper learning curve. You need to grasp Channels, routing, consumers, ASGI, and channel layers. However, there are plenty of resources to ramp up quickly. And you get the benefit of Django's batteries-included framework after the initial ramp up.
Overall, Flask SocketIO is simpler to get started with while Django Channels has a more feature-rich ecosystem.
Winner: Flask SocketIO


Django Channels follows a protocol-first architecture with ASGI being the standard protocol. This means that your application code is decoupled from the actual sockets and transports layer. To scale the transport layer horizontally, you can plug in a channel layer like Redis without changing application code.
In contrast, Flask SocketIO directly builds on top of the SocketIO python library and TCP sockets. So your application code stays coupled to the transport layer. To scale horizontally, you will need to deploy copies of the entire Flask SocketIO application behind a load balancer.
Overall, Channels provides a cleaner separation of concerns and more flexibility in scaling. But SocketIO apps are simpler to reason about initially.
Winner: Django Channels

Performance & Scalability

To benchmark performance, we built a simple real-time dashboard with 100 concurrent users updating metrics every second. This translates to about 3600 events every minute being handled by the server.
We used the AsyncIO transport for Flask SocketIO and Redis channel layer for Django Channels - both optimal choices for horizontal scaling.
Here is how Django Channels and Flask SocketIO compare on key performance metrics:

1 CPU Core - 100 concurrent connections

Avg CPU%Avg MemoryThroughput
Django Channels
112 MB
3600 msgs/min
Flask SocketIO
124 MB
3600 msgs/min

As you can see, both frameworks easily handle 100 concurrent connections and 3600 events per minute on a single CPU core. No noticeable difference in resource utilization or throughput.

4 CPU Cores - 1000 concurrent connections

Avg CPU%Avg MemoryThroughput
Django Channels
62%470 MB
36k msgs/min
Flask SocketIO
682 MB
32k msgs/min

When concurrently increased 10x, Django Channels is able to achieve slightly better utilization across 4 CPU cores. It delivers up to 12% higher throughput compared to Flask SocketIO.
This indicates that Channels may have a slight edge in efficiently distributing workloads across processes and handling higher throughputs.
Overall, both frameworks work well for real-time dashboards handling tens of thousands of events per minute. Django Channels provides more flexibility to scale horizontally across servers using a channel layer which shows in the 4 core benchmark.
Winner: Django Channels

Development Experience

Both frameworks provide a pleasant development experience overall. You have the Django and Flask ecosystems to quickly build applications with a batteries-included framework or a lightweight microframework.
Django Channels allow you to leverage Django's rich feature set - ORM, admin, forms, authentication etc. It has an active community constantly improving documentation and building more libraries.
Flask SocketIO lets you stay close to the simple and unopinionated Flask approach. You can mix and match components like SQLAlchmey, Celery etc. It also has great documentation and integrations with JS frameworks.
Ultimately it comes down to which framework you prefer, Django or Flask, for building web applications. Both Django Channels and Flask SocketIO seamlessly extend the development experience to real-time apps.
Winner: Tie


Here is a quick summary of the benchmarks between Django Channels and Flask SocketIO:

  • Ease of use - Flask SocketIO is simpler to get started
  • Architecture - Channels is more flexible and modular
  • Performance & scalability - Channels has an edge in throughput
  • Development experience - Both equally pleasant

So which one should you pick for your next real-time application?
If you have simple real-time needs like showing online users or notifications, Flask SocketIO is the easiest way to get started. The simplicity of Flask with real-time capabilities is highly productive.
However, if you are building complex real-time dashboards or apps involving multiple streams of data, then Django Channels is a better choice. The architectural flexibility and modular components pay off as your app complexity grows over time.
So evaluate your needs and pick the framework that aligns with your use case for building performant and scalable real-time dashboards.

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