Ask a Python developer, and you will know that there is nothing better than Python, but ask an experienced PHP dev and he will give you plenty of reasons to use PHP over Python. Of course, those are not the only available programming languages but today we are going to discuss the pros and cons of using both. Let’s see which one would suit better to fulfill your needs!
A flexible language for every project - does it exist?
Web design and app development is a long distance run. You need to bear in mind coding at the client side and server side, then decide upon Database technology. For each step, the choice of the particular programming language is crucial and you should make up your mind before starting the project. There are a few ways to compare programming languages, however, what most likely concerns you is the… budget, and after that - the final outcome.
When it comes to PHP, it is the most popular language for the server-side programming, on the other hand, we have Python which is praised for its simplicity and dynamics.
Also, there's TIOBE Index that says that Python programming language has entered the TIOBE Index top 3!
Before making the final choice, it is necessary to take into account which features each language has, its functionality and the purpose for which it was created.
About Python programming
Made from scratch as a full stack programming language, Python is not dominating the web development world. While PHP owns more than 80% of the web, Python has a small share of less than 1%. However, when it comes to limited time and lower budget, Python is the way to go - especially for startups. To create a representative app when you feel the time pressure, Python is the right choice. If you would like to get to know more fields in which this programming language is usually implemented - read our What is Python used for guide. Also, you won’t need a bunch of developers to work on a project. What does it mean for you? Basically, within a short period of time you can be ready with an MVP or even an app.
The common ground for Python and PHP
Even though Python seems easier to learn, after getting to know basic PHP, both are rather a beginner-friendly in comparison to C++ or other languages. Due to the huge community supporting Python and PHP, it is easier to find someone to help with the learning process or during the project. Both are open source which gives the possibility to the users to enhance it or update it - improvements always welcome!
PHP vs Python: core differences
First of all, the mindset. Python development is aspect-oriented while PHP is object-oriented. Well, this sounds fancy but what does it mean for your project?
With PHP, developers would make up an integral code object which executes particular tasks based on the user’s input. In Python development, the program is split into modules depending on the functionality. Thus, in Python, the dev team would first create modules and after making the connection depending on the “if-then” action. Triggered by the user’s action, the algorithm executes a particular program block.
Another important difference is syntax, a.k.a fundamental grammatical rules of the programming language. However, let’s leave this to the dev team and get back to major differences that matter in the area of time, efficiency and budget.
PHP is considered less flexible than Python and has more strict rules, as well, PHP requires libraries to be loaded manually, while Python uses packages to load them in a breeze. Moreover, PHP is considered not that safe as Python applications because in PHP there is a need for additional tools to support security. However, there must be a reason why over 80% of the web is using PHP, right? Let’s not forget that PHP is made for web developers to create dynamic and interactive HTML pages. Most popular CMS platforms like Wordpress, WooCommerce, and Magneto are made in PHP. Moreover, websites like Wikipedia, Yahoo, Tumblr and to some extent Facebook, are written in PHP too.
PHP code can be simply inserted into the HTML and voilà! When it comes to frameworks that make the life of a developer easier, PHP ones as Symfony or Laravel have many enthusiasts. Another important fact worth to mention is that PHP is simple to update - the update is always from the server-side, thus additionally it is basically the safest way to apply improvements.
For Python, the most popular frameworks used to create web applications are Django and Flask. Regardless of its frameworks, Python grows in popularity since Google decided to base some projects on this language. Other giants as YouTube, Spotify, Instagram or Reddit are also following the trend. Not surprising if you care about efficiency and how easy you can acquire it into a project.
So which one is better for a small business or a startup?
PHP and Python have a lot in common and both are quite powerful when it comes to web development, however, in the end, you have to make a choice. Let’s make it clear, in best software development firms you will find programmers for both languages. PHP is the core of the vast majority of web apps while Python is gaining more and more audience due to its readability and flexibility.
Depending on the project, if you strive for a state-of-art app (not only for web development purposes!), which might be fully accustomed in the future and additionally, you want to make it visible quickly, Python seems a better choice. Definitely there is a room for PHP as well, however, when the time is money and you need to sell your idea before anyone else comes up with it as well, a quicker solution which supports also the quality of the product is simply wiser.