The comparison, be it of two objects, ideas, or technologies is a thief of joy, but at the same, it’s necessary to identify the perfect ones that match with the goals of businesses or individuals. Similarly, the story of every programing language is unique and incomparable. It’s like the sun and moon that shines but at different time.
However, when it comes to development, the programmers are in the race to create bigger and better apps for the universe, where the selection of one programming language can make or break the success. The selection battle is not less than the top rivalry of Coke and Pepsi where each of the two brands excels in different aspects, have their existing fanbase, and leverage different strategies to stay on the top.
The case of age-old Java and Python is no different where the two languages have managed to survive amidst the advent of new languages and frequent updates. Again, it’s a coding battle, where one defeats other and only one will be declared as a winner.
So, how the developers make this decision? What’s will be the basis of the decision? How one language outweighs other in terms of technical difference, tools, community, innovation, and a lot more? Let’s dive in to get the answer to every possible question.
Before we look deeper into the differences between the two languages, let’s walk through the fundamentals of both languages:
The statically-typed object-oriented language that’s first appeared in 1995 is preferred for dynamic coding. The write-once-run-anywhere language is designed to run on any platform with little dependencies. The open-source and distributed language support multi-threading programming concept and jam-packed with unique features that makes comprehensive web applications development plain-sailing.
The server-side programming language firstly appeared in 1990 aimed to bridge the gap between C and the Shell. Later, with constant updates, the use of the language is extended to meet various web applications development needs. The conservative language is a dynamically-typed general-purpose programming language that requires developers to use less code to describe more. The open-source language has a built-in list and dictionary data structures that enable fast runtime data structures construction effortlessly.
Moreover, the language has also gained the title of ‘Programming Language Hall of Fame’ for 2018 due to enormous advantages it offers.
- Trends and Popularity
Replacing the old kid- Java on the tech block is not possible for the new entrants such as Kotlin, but the popularity (not potential) of the language has certainly gone southwards. On the other hand, Python is excelling in the market with enormous growth and usage in the development space.
According to Github’s Octoverse report, among all of the hundreds of programming languages in which the developers write code, Java still secures the second position with millions of contributors in public and private repositories. Python shot up to #3 among top languages used on the platform.
Stackoverflow’s survey report illustrates the similar scene where Python spotted as the fast-growing language, but Java ranked at the top with 45% of the developers contributing followed by Python at 39%.
The result: Java gains an upper hand over Python.
In Java, the JVM (Java virtual machine) provides the runtime environment to run the code which converts Java bytecode into machine language that can be otherwise compiled at the execution time. The simple architecture leads to a seamless experience for the java developers during development.
In Python, the interpreter translates thpython vs java differencese source code into machine-independent bytecode and then stores the bytecode file in a folder. When the program is run, no translation is done again and the bytecodes are employed which are then shipped to PVM (Python virtual machine) where the code executes.
The result: It’s neutral.
It’s difficult to declare a winner in the performance equation because the languages don’t have speed, instead, they have semantics. So, for the comparison in the speed section, the language execution speed, program implementation speed, and third-party libraries performance are considered.
The just-in-time compiler of Java compiles bytecode into native machine code in the real-time, which is directly called by the JVM. It means no code interpretation is required during the compilation process that makes Java swifter, smarter and faster.
On the other hand, Python is an interpreter-based programming language where the codes are interpreted based on the variable time and datatype identification is also done in the runtime that deteriorates the language performance.
The result: Due to virtual machine execution and optimizations, Java churns out high-performance speed as opposed to Python.
- Learning curve
Java is ruling the coding space, but Python is quickly gaining the major traction in the market with an increasing number of computer science departments, and academic institutions teaching Python language. From the very beginning, Python was created as an easy-to-use and easy-to-understand language that offers intuitive learning experience from the syntactical perspective. Additionally, Python abstracts a lot of complexity that takes off a lot of heavy work of the Python developers.
Plus, the dynamically-typed nature of the Python makes it very flexible. The myriad of the ways to solve the problem and nature of forgiving the errors makes it a perfect fit for the novice players.
The result: The low learning curve makes Python great for the rookies.
- Code readability
Getting more with less, it completely stands true in the sense of writing the number of lines of code. The web developers always prefer to create web applications with less number of code lines. The simple, concise, and elegant syntax plays a critical role in bringing simplicity to the language.
In the case of Java, the developers have to write a lot of code to perform the same thing that can be done in a few lines of code due to strict syntax rules. The variable types need to be explicitly declared, the high usage of curly braces, the errors displayed during code compilation when a semicolon is not used, the plethora of indentation rules, and other that makes developers don’t find the language intuitive.
On the flip side, Python’s syntax is similar to the English language where just indentation is essential to read the code more clearly and even, the statements can be ended anywhere without a semicolon. The comparatively fewer lines of code increase the developer’s productivity.
The result: Python is the best language for the developers when it comes to simplicity or verbosity.
The database layers simplify the access to data stored in the database by separating the business logic and presentation code.
In Java, the Java database connectivity (JDBC) is active and keeps the database access code separated from the rest of code so that changes made in database access or code won’t affect the rest of the application. That’s why enterprises prefer Java for easy integration with other databases such as SQL and SQOOP.
Python’s database access layers are inactive and feeble as compared to Java, which makes the Python not-a-good-fit for the database-critical applications.
The result: Java wins by a great margin.
Presently, without embracing advanced technologies, it’s impossible to make the application serve the modern users’ needs, and thrive in the dynamic market. Both frameworks have ML libraries for advanced web applications development.
A new framework-Kite developed using Python language is a great instance of it. The latest innovation in Python works as an AI-driven code completion tool that aims to reduce the burden on developers and let them write better code. Google’s open-source TensorFlow framework leveraged the capability of Python to create greater avenues of development and exploration.
On the other hand, Java sees innovation on a small scale. It’s mainly used for industrial applications, especially B2B applications and improves efficiency in the design process. Java can be used as a viable solution for VR/AR app development and design, but its extensive use is still limited to enterprise-cloud apps and scale-driven applications.
The result: More innovations leveraging emerging technologies are witnessed in Python.
Legacy means something that has become outdated or obsolete and no longer supported. The legacy language inability to convert it into a modern language or use some of its parts in the new development environment makes the work of developers difficult.
Java has become a legacy that can’t be evolved into a modern language while keeping backward compatibility. However, the JVM ecosystem of Java has helped in the creation of good programming languages such as Kotlin, Scala, and Clojure.
Python has comparatively less number of legacy issues with the ability to make changes to its legacy system. It enables making a gradual shift to the system without needing to write the whole system again like Java.
The result: Python beats Java.
Summing it up
No one, neither Java nor Python sweep the board when compared against various parameters. Both languages perform best in the realm with their pros and cons. The answer for the best language or the declaration of the winner in the coding battle completely relies on the application type, and the tools required to build the app from scratch.
Don’t judge the book by its cover. Do in-depth research about what the language has in the store to offer, check how it matches with your web application development requirements, and then take the decision. All the best!