When it comes to backend development, PHP and Python web development are two among the most popular choices that businesses, as well as developers, make. However, choosing one among the two is always a tough call. While a massive number of websites are programmed in PHP, Python has been witnessing a steep upward trend in the past 2 years.
If you, however, are leaning towards choosing Python over PHP as your language of choice, this blog is here to clear any doubts that you may have regarding Python vs. PHP.
How has Python been Doing?
According to Datanyze, though in the total websites developed over the month of November 2018, PHP far exceeds those in Python, the websites that dropped PHP as their development language was a whopping 136,55. While PHP once used to rule the roost, it is now certainly witnessing a downward trend, since Python now offers itself as a better alternative.
After its adoption for product platforms by some of the biggest app names like YouTube, Instagram, Quora, Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit, Google, Netflix, and Spotify, Python has become the new favorite.
According to Stack Overflow, From 2016 to 2017, the year over year growth of Python in the US and UK market has been a steady 27%, much higher than the rate at which PHP has been growing.
Both the languages have their own advantages and disadvantages besides some distinctive features. However, in the recent past, an increasing number of people have switched to Python from PHP, owing to several benefits like robustness, better design, and readability, to name only a few, that the Python programming language provides.
As statistics and trends suggest, Python is certainly one of the programming languages that are looking up, unlike PHP that faces stagnation now. The table below sums it up rather well.
Nevertheless, since selecting any language over another, in this case, Python over PHP, cannot simply be based on a growth rate, there are a number of reasons which a programmer should look for while making a decision.
So, we are going to compare PHP and Python programming languages for you to help you decide as to why Python may be a better choice for your application.
So, How does Python Compare to PHP?
Given the strong following that PHP has enjoyed for a long time, and maybe it still is, here are a few insights that justify the rapid growth of Python and the proposition that it can be a better language than PHP.
1. Well-Thought-Out Design
The design refers to the pattern or simply put the way to code. The design of python is well-thought-out when compared to php. Any programmer will find backend programming much easier in python as compared to php, the reason being the flexibilities which python provides such as the absence of pre-defining data types of variables, dynamically bindness and many others.
Though php isn’t an elegant language like Python, although it is completely workable. Any developer having a good experience in programming and software development can also develop in PHP but to be efficient and agile a lot of time and hands-on practice is needed.
A developer who is trained classically, Python gets a lot of things right in terms of being a robust programming language. Not only is that but python much easier to have a grasp on. This is because of the way in which reflection is implemented as well as how functions are treated as first-class objects.
2. In the Ease-of-Learning, Python Wins
Well, on the face of it, it’s easy to work with both PHP and Python. And both are quite well-documented. Both of them also have IDEs for Windows, Linux, as well as MacOS.
But, here’s the deal; if you are a developer, you should consider what is likely to create the maximum value for you in the long term. You would obviously want to work with a language with which you can form a deep, rich, and long-lasting relationship.
In terms of that, Python fits the bill much better than PHP since the uses of the latter are more sophisticated, stand-alone programs but not versatile. Python uses are simpler and thus, more popular. Here is a list of world-class companies that use Python.
So, when its Python vs. PHP, the former wins not only because it’s easy to learn, but also because of a terrific number of tutorials available online.
3. Superior Framework
Frameworks can be defined as pre-built structures which are sort of to-go mechanism. Frameworks allow millions of goals to be achieved and provide much more ease of use as well as they handle a lot of things on their own rather than burdening the coder/programmer to do them.
Python provides many frameworks including Django, Flask, Electron, Pylons. However, Django provided by python is considered the best framework for web development around the programmer’s community in the globe.
The reason why there is so much hype about Django is that it is incredibly simple to utilize, secure, and is quick. It is entirely steady and renders itself usable for various applications. Most new designers lean toward utilizing Django, especially for its shorter development time and simplicity of the arrangement.
Apart from Django (since some consider it too strict as peruse), there is also Flask for people who want to work in web development and have not used any framework before. It is said in Python community that “Django is used by the Navy while the Pirates use flask”. Reason being Flask gives much flexibility to programmers that are not used to working on frameworks.
4. Renders Itself More Readable
Where php codes can be extremely complex and messy if the programmers don’t take care of the proper indentation and are a bit careless, python enforces the programmers to use proper indentation hence making the code much more readable and hence easily understandable.
This helps purely when a new programmer has to work on the work done by some previous developer. The code and the way things work is easily understandable in python.
5. The Syntax Is Much Simpler than PHP
The syntax of python is much simpler than php, in many cases, the organizations working closely with the developers to get their products developed cannot fully understand the code even if they have a little technical background.
The reason for this being many languages involve many symbols or reserved words in their syntax that are hard to comprehend. Of all the languages developed python is clearly the one which is the closest to the English language in a sense of its usage. Even a person with a little technical background can easily understand and comprehend the code.
6. Simpler, Easily Available Tools Debugging Tools
Debugging relates to a process of finding bugs/errors in an application and resolving them. This is one of the major issues faced by developers in everyday programming. Debugging usually requires a lot of time to identify the error and then resolving it takes even more time which costs start-ups and growing organizations a lot.
Python has an easily available very efficient debugging tool which makes finding errors much more easy, simpler and quicker and hence saving a lot of time for both developers and the organization as well. The debugger provided by python (PDB) is well-documented and very easy to use.
PHP also offers a debugger package called XDebug, which is great. The only margin by which Python wins is that it requires fewer debugging tools than PHP. The download package in python suffices more often than not.
7. Package Management
Package management acts as the glue between various projects. With its help, you can write, build, and share packages in such a format that other developers can easily plug into other applications.
Package management does exist in PHP, but there probably aren’t any code bases using it to the extent that PIP (a tool for installation and management of Python packages) does.
It enables you to install, uninstall, upgrade, and use a broad range of sources for internal and external libraries. It is rare to find a list of all third-party libraries and the version numbers in use, written in one file.
In Python, the package managers neatly organize the code and keep backups as well as the version numbers. The package management in python enables developers to see their progress and helps organizations to visit regular updates on the work, hence keeping a better track of how things are actually moving forward.
8. Front-end feasibility
Since many of the web programmers are feasible with developing the front-end or the layout of their web sites or web portals using tools and languages such as Angular, React, CSS, Bootstrap, etc. Python does provide feasibility for the developers to adapt the very same techniques and join it with Python code via its frameworks.
So a designer can design/make the same elegant website while the backend developers would be at ease because they can still use it with a much simpler and easier language i.e python.
9. Python is More Versatile than PHP
Nowadays the web applications are not only restricted to developing simply portals or websites for information but AI is also becoming an essential part of the web these days. All of the businesses that have online portals which provide services to the customers are using advanced AI and machine learning algorithms.
Such algorithms not only help them in identifying their users more accurately but also analysis with machine learning tells the organizations which specific domains of their business they should funnel their investments in.
Python has many libraries which are very strong and powerful as compared to libraries being provided by PHP. These libraries include assistance in all domains including NLP (Natural Language Processing), image processing and many others.
10. Vast Support and Community
Each language has a specific community which can be thought of as the people who use that language and also includes the people who work for the betterment of that language. The betterment usually includes updates and introduction of libraries which make the work much easier.
Both python and php have excellent community support. Since PHP has been in the market, for php web development, much longer than python so it has a huge community of PHP developers which are ready to provide support.
Python even though, being introduced much later is matching very closely with PHP. There are many python developers and the community of python is growing very rapidly. As a result, community support is outstanding.
Python became much popular only after Google started using it for developing some of its applications such as YouTube. Many popular startups of this era such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Reddit use Python-based web applications. Having said all that it must be kept in mind that the biggest social media platform i.e Facebook was built purely in PHP backend.
Both PHP and Python have their own advantages. While PHP is the one which is being used for web development for a long time but python is taking over very rapidly.
In the end, it is not PHP or Python. The best PHP framework will be the one that suits the requirement of your project. Both languages are easy to learn and are backed by large communities, elaborate documentation, and support. However, Python is the one that is seeing an upward trend and becoming the more popular choice.