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Rapid Java Web development

Django has a few notable 'rapid' items including automatically generated administrative interface, bundled ORM (lowers dev time by not having to write SQL and some other code), and a large community with several re-usable apps.

Where Django (or Ruby on Rails or any other MVC framework for that matter) isn't going to be rapid is the learning curve when you first come to developing on them. Django (and RoR) have quite a bit of seperation-of-concerns and if you're not used to that sort of environment, it takes a while to learn the framework. If you're using an ORM that's something to get used to as well, and then of course for any framework you go with there's the API to learn as well.

PHP on the other hand is a little more intuitive in terms of where you put the code and how pages make up your web app. It'll basically let you slap code wherever you want so in the beginning it will probably be faster. In the end it will be quicker but your final product will be sloppier and probably require re-factoring later on.

This comes down to a question of what's the use of the framework. If it's for a hobby site, just go with what's easy (php), otherwise you might want to consider a well-supported MVC framework.

As others have pointed out, jquery is probably the pick for pre-made GUI widgets.

Edit - And apparently now Django (as of 1.1) has a very awesome set of unit testing tools it comes bundled with. Things like an extended TestCase specifically for Django, a test client (you can do test page request w/o an actual client or server), a tool to give you a % of test coverage you have of the project, and a bunch of other neat stuff.

Source: stackoverflow.com
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