Note: this is a blog version of the Flask Workshop I’m giving for WinHacks 2024. To view the slides and supporting materials as presented during WinHacks, check out the official GitHub repository here.

Intro to Flask

Presented by Jeremie Bornais Sample code available at


  1. About Flask
    • Overview of the framework, what it is, why you should use it
  2. Installation
    • Simple step by step installation instructions
  3. Your First App
    • The structure of a Flask app, and getting it up and running
  4. Routes and Templates
    • Adding new routes to the app, rendering templates, inheriting from templates
  5. Next Steps
    • SQLAlchemy, User Authentication, and other ways to extend your app
  6. Interactive Demo
    • We’ll be making our own Flask app from scratch!

About Flask

What it is and why you should use it

What is Flask?

  • A micro web framework written in Python
  • Used for coding the back end of websites
  • Very light by design
  • Has many additional addons that can be used in addition to it (WTForms, SQLAlchemy, Flask-Login. etc.)

Why use it?

  • Very simple to get started
  • Many great addons
  • Hackathon-friendly
  • Scales well
  • More customizable, let’s you decide how you want to solve certain problems


Just a “pip install” away!

“pip install flask”

  • Python 3.5+ is required to install Flask
  • Pip must also be installed to be able to install it
  • Venv is recommended to make handling libraries easier
  • Simply run pip install flask to install it!
  • You may need to use pip3 instead of pip if you’re on a Linux or Unix system
  • Link to download Python and pip:

Your First App

Boilerplate code to get you started

The Bare Minimum

from flask import Flask
app = Flask(__name__)

def hello_world():
    return 'Hello, World!'

if __name__ == "__main__":
  1. Save this file to
  2. Run python (You may need to run python3 instead)
  3. Go to

Common structure of a Flask app

  • config.json
  • static/
    • style.css
    • script.js
  • templates/
    • layout.html
    • home.html

Routes and Templates

Add pages, use real HTML files

Common Functions


Used to render an HTML template file in the “templates” folder


Used to find the URL of a particular route, often used for links and specifying file sources (ex. css files)


Used to redirect the user to a different URL or route. Often used with url_for() to redirect to different routes on the website

Your Own Routes

def about():
    return render_template('about.html')

def contact():
    return render_template('contact.html')

Passing Data to Routes

def posts(post_id):
    ## do something with post_id
    return render_template('about.html')

Linking this route with url_for():

<a href="{{ url_for('posts', post_id=4) }}">View Post</a>

Templates & Inheritance

In layout.html:

<!DOCTYPE html>
   {% block content %}{% endblock %}

In home.html:

{% extends 'layout.html' %}
{% block content %}
<h1>Hello World!</h1>
{% endblock %}

More on Templates

Using a for loop:

{% for contact in contacts %}
    <h3>{{ contact }}</h3>
{% endfor %}

Using an if statement:

{% if current_user.is_authenticated %}
    <h3>Welcome User!</h3>
{% else %}
    <h3>You Must Login!</h3>
{% endif %}

Next Steps

Extending your app’s functionality

Common packages used with Flask

  • Flask-SQLAlchemy
    • Simple extension that allows you to connect to a variety of SQL databases
  • Flask-Login
    • Handles user sessions, makes authentication a breeze.
  • Gunicorn
    • When used in conjunction with a reverse proxy (like caddy), allows for the easy deployment of the app.
  • Flask-Uploads
    • Makes handling user file uploads simple and secure.
  • bcrypt
    • Used for hashing and checking passwords, makes authentication more secure.