If you want better performance avoid the Django ORM completely or use it for 3rd party Django Packages. Also avoid using any template engines or keep it simple. Use it as an REST API service
Well, it depends, you should use the ORM if your query is simple, it doesn't make sense to use raw SQL if you want just to perform a simple select, raw SQL is for complex queries. So, I don't think that we need to avoid ORM usage at all, that is the good part about using a framework, to avoid all the overhead of doing everything manually.
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