10 Reasons Why Python Scores Over PHP for Web Development

Python vs. PHP

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 exceed 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 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.

How has Python been Doing?

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

Python has better design than PHP

You will find it much easier to use Python for writing great code than PHP, although it is not impossible to write good code in PHP.

Python has the architecture that helps make it a well-thought-out, well-designed and robust language. PHP, on the other hand, seems not to be so well-thought-out.

PHP is not an elegant language as Python is, although it is completely workable. Any developer, who has a fair amount of experience in creating great software, is likely to write good script in PHP. However, to be more agile with PHP, very deep knowledge of the nuances and idiosyncrasies of the language is required.

For a developer who is trained classically, Python gets a lot of things right in terms of being a robust programming language, and also one that’s easier to grasp and use. This has much to do with the way in which reflection is implemented and 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

Python is a better framework than PHP

Although conceptually, developers would like to have choices, practically they like standards. If everything else is the same, they prefer that everyone works with the same libraries and frameworks.

Python provides just that mainly with Django, Pyramid, Pylons, and Flask. However, Django is generally considered the de facto web framework choice in Python. Its counterparts in PHP are Kohana, Symfony, CodeIgniter, and Zend.

As far as Python frameworks are considered, Django is the clear winner. It is extremely easy to use, secure, and fast. It is very stable and robust and renders itself usable for a number of applications. Most new developers prefer using Django, particularly for its shorter development time and ease of setup.

The learning curve, at present, is more closely related to frameworks than languages. The richer and deeper the framework, the more you have to learn. There is an upfront cost for frameworks, but it translates into a lot of long-term value.

4. Renders Itself More Readable

PHP is extensively documented and follows a classic approach. On the other hand, Python makes use of indentation enforcements that are quite strict. Arguably, Python is not just more readable than PHP, but also more readable than most other programming languages.

The very philosophy behind Python is code readability.

5. The Syntax Is Much Simpler than PHP

Python has a simpler syntax than PHP

Python’s syntax is simpler, and the code easier to understand and write in Python. It does not include curly braces like other programming languages and is amazingly easy to grasp.

When you write something in Python, it is so elegant to look at that you almost want to show it off to others. That is generally not the case with something that is typically written in PHP web development.

6. Simpler, Easily Available Tools Debugging Tools

Python has a big developer ecosystem and easily available debugging tools for the language. Utilizing these tools is quite simple. It provides developers with Python Debugger (PDB), a rather powerful debugger, which is easy to use and so well-documented that even novices can grasp it well.

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 suffices more often than not.

7. A Clear Winner in Package Management

Python's package management is better than PHP's

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.

8. The Lambdas Provided by Python Offer an Advantage over PHP

A Lambda is a subroutine or a function that is defined and called without it being bound to an identifier. It is a code block that can be passed around and executed later, once or several times.

The Lambdas flow freely within Python and are simple to create. So, Python developers like to use Lambdas when these are appropriate for the job.

Earlier, there was only the ‘create_function’ available in PHP, which was not really a substitute for the Lambdas in Python. There have been changes made in subsequent versions of PHP and closure support is now available.

9. Python is More Versatile than PHP

Python is a versatile programming language, almost infinitely. Python website development is not the only one use case we’re looking at. Machine learning. NLP, data science, image processing, and desktop and mobile application development, are only a few other Python use cases.

PHP, on the other hand, may be used for other purposes than web development, but it is intended precisely for creating web pages, and that is what it does the best. It is a sophisticated programming language that is meant for creating sophisticated web programs.

10. Vast Support and Community

Python Software Foundation

With the progression of time, Python has come to be perceived as “cooler” than PHP in terms of its versatility, modernity, simplicity, elegance, and ease of use. Since Python has such vast use cases like development, scripting, scientific application, and so forth, an enormous community has come to develop around it. So, developers can expect massive support, needless to say.

Besides, there is the Python Software Foundation which strives to

“promote, protect, and advance the Python programming language, and to support and facilitate the growth of a diverse and international community of Python programmers.”

So, expect an even larger community and even better support.

PHP, though, also has a substantial support available and a large community of developers around it, compared to Python, it is only smaller.

Summing Up

Whereas PHP appears to be easier to learn and become proficient in, as the general perception goes, Python helps you create more robust code that can be put to versatile use cases.

While both are backed by large communities, elaborate documentation, and support, Python is the one that is seeing an upward trend and becoming the more popular choice. Numerous factors like the simplicity of code, versatile use cases, modularity, and countless libraries are the reasons why the developer, as well as businesses, love Python.

The fact is that such simplicity of use and adaptability make it very difficult to go wrong, letting you achieve your programming goals efficiently.

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Sunil Goyal

About the Author

Sunil finds his forte in defining software architectures. With over 10 years of experience in the industry, he has contributed to several leading projects. He loves spending time with friends and ensures to do so even on a hectic day.

Comments

 
 

j

12:42 AM, Mar 09, 2019

You don't even mention Laravel?? Halfway through this "article," I had to scroll up to look at the date because I figured it was 10 years, or more, older...I stopped reading when I realized it was written a few months ago. And... "but there probably aren’t any code bases using it to the extent that PIP...does" ... o.O are you high? You're trying to say pip is superior and in more production environments than composer?!? Wtf? You are clearly a python developer trying to get noticed and no nothing about modern PHP and seemingly not that much about OOP or web development in general, either.

Nwakasi Stephen

10:07 AM, Feb 25, 2019

Starting out web development with Django is probably not a good idea if you want to understand "web programming." A huge part of the work has been done for you. You don't even see the logic sometimes, but it works. So with Django, you do not need to write a lot of back end logic, just stick to the Django-rules.

I am going to say here that anyone who wants to program the web and also wants to know how and why things are done the way they are should start with something else, not a framework. And PHP is a good start.

Ananya Roy

7:54 PM, Feb 07, 2019

This is so ridiculous. Kindly read the benefits of PHP because there are many.

jim

9:46 PM, Jan 29, 2019

I am really surprised at how bad this article is. The author clearly does not have any knowledge of PHP, OOP or modern PHP frameworks. For instance, the use of lambdas. PHP does support lambdas but you simply don't need them in OOP.

Graeme

1:33 PM, Jan 10, 2019

And what about the disadvantages? Like the fact that PHP is easy to run on most modern hosting servers without much setup, yet Python is not and requires more expensive hosting packages to install the necessary software to compile and run your code? Not gonna lie, I was hoping for a more wholistic argument to help me with my problem, not your “python-is-better” article.

B Chast

12:47 AM, Jan 08, 2019

It is not PHP or Python, but which one works better for the project you are working on. People should have the freedom to choose for themselves whatever is going to work best for them. Both languages are easy to learn and a developer doesn't have to choose one or the other nowadays. Why not both? PHP has advantages over Python for simple websites and doesn't rely upon some IDE for web development like Python (unless you want to code all of that yourself).

Fang Hao

1:35 PM, Dec 17, 2018

You clearly dont know much about modern PHP

Sunday Adejoh

2:02 AM, Nov 03, 2018

Good evening sir, am a young aspiring developer from Nigeria, please just tell me which to learn PHP or Python??

Daniel Craig Jallits

7:31 AM, Sep 13, 2018

Most of your arguments regarding PHP are severely outdated. Since 2012, the language that has made the most significant advancements is PHP.

For instance:

Composer beats the snot out of PIP for package management.

PHP 7 is a complete smoke show compared to previous versions, and I’m stoked that a JIT compiler is finally being included in v8.

Laravel right now is the clear winner for PoC development and Symfony for Enterprise applications.

Forget Drupal, WordPress or Drupal as those are applications and do not properly represent PHP as a whole. Those are just segments of a much wider, active and thriving user base, that is not nearly as toxic as some of the other language communities I’ve been involved with.

Mohammad Ashrafuddin Ferdousi

3:59 AM, Aug 19, 2018

Nice writing and I am writing you at 2018! :)

I agree with you only with the last point. But I seriously think you should look at 5.6 or greater, specifically php 7.2. You may also check PSR. In context of programming and better programming practice php 7 is playing a great role. Now-a-days php libraries are glue and exchangeable! These all are amazing for programmers' community.

The main problem I find is lack of good php developers. As php is a forgiving language even now, lots of people start programming in php and able to make something visible! They need to be trained up with professional software engineering technique and best practices.

Otherwise, php has lots of features like type hinting, interface, traits and obviously class. If someone follow the correct techniques, this is even better language than ruby or python in context of web development.

In theory, lots of people says about needle haystack issue. But with a good IDE its not so much bigger issue! Even python have "self" which is a design mistake and its not a big deal. At day end, we produce softwares by writing codes. If we have enough knowledge, we make things correct!

Thanks!

William Taylor

2:21 PM, Aug 17, 2018

I have been a programmer since 1974, just looking too deepen my Python experience as I think about converting some Php AI applications to Python to too merge too chatbot technologies together.

While I did enjoy reading this piece, but it was way short of providing anything more than opinion. If you do update it with some references or examples, please email me.

Cheers,

Harry Corner

7:26 PM, Aug 03, 2018

I liked the post. However, I felt during my read as though few of those points are rather opinionated than comparatively defined.

Ali

6:42 AM, May 08, 2018

I have spent 2 years building my online reservation system and backend Administrator portal using HTML/CSS on the frontend, javascript/jquery with ajax functions and php scripts. I understand Python is so popular now a days but I am having a tough time understand what part of my html + css + javascript/jquery + ajax + PHP I would replace with Python? And why would I replace it with Python?

Rik Roos

3:26 AM, Apr 04, 2018

I've learned Django and I agree that this is not something you will do on one rainy Sunday afternoon. But the logic of the framework is very consistent. After a couple of days you can build a library-site or a blog-site with authentication (login) and authorization (perform special tasks) options. But before learning Django you should learn HTML, CSS and Javascript well; my advice is ignore the frameworks like JQuery and Bootstrap; start with the basics.

James Patricia

5:36 PM, Mar 14, 2018

PHP is Server Side Scripting Language compatible with all known OS like Windows ,Linux etc .Nowadays, PHP frameworks are being extensively used by programmers to address to performance tuning issues faster and with ease.Thank you for sharing this amazing blog with us.It was very informative blog.

noshad

8:34 AM, Feb 28, 2018

that haha moment when you build your website with php wordpress just to write php is bad compare to other language

jc

9:50 PM, Dec 22, 2017

I agree to some of your point but package management in php is still light-years ahead of Python even at this time.
Look at composer and packagist and compare that to pi, pipy and virtualenv. good lord.

Gaurav

7:34 PM, Dec 14, 2017

Could you provide me some online websites names to learn python free of cost.

Paul Wakhungu

5:57 PM, Oct 11, 2017

The article seems to have been written by someone who has not had a first hand experience with PHP. Readability of code for example depends on how the code is structured, which of course is dependent on the developer. The entire article seems full of opinions rather than researched work.

Ram krishna

5:59 AM, Jun 03, 2017

I went through the content and portfolio, I am new in both the langs, i.e PHP & python.

I have a simple question to ask you.

By using any language, why not a 100% standalone product get build, without post support work?

EBIOWEI

1:02 PM, May 19, 2017

I am a total beginner who hasn't even known how to start, I want to know if Python can be used single handedly to build a cloth shopping website. Is it thesame Python 3 I want to start learning that I'll use, or is it that python for web development is a different thing than Python for normal apps like mobile? Please if this question is silly forgive me, I just need to know what's what.

Jayan Gopinath

7:08 PM, Apr 10, 2016

I agree with Python's ever increasing popularity. And innumerable no. of third party libraries in several different verticals are available for Python.
Thanks to Guido van Rossum.

Nope

9:23 PM, Oct 03, 2015

Nothing you've written about PHP is actually accurate, and the rest is opinion. But wonderfully "objective" little article you've written.

erm3nda

4:54 AM, Sep 02, 2015

Definetively yes, that's why i move from PHP to Python.

But for novices, PHP is the quick way to create their little app's :D



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