Python Vs. PHP for Learning Web Development in 2021

Backend web development has been one of the most important skills in the IT sector. Every software development company has a high demand for web developers. 

There are so many programming languages for backend web development, some of them are listed here:

  • Python: Python is one of the emerging programming languages chosen for Web development, Data Science, and AI. The demand for Python developers in the market and companies is increasing day by day. 
  • PHP: PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor. PHP is used widely even today. In developing countries like Nepal, PHP has monopoly power in software development.
  • JavaScript: JavaScript has been an emerging programming language since it is used in both frontend and backend web development. JavaScript frameworks like Node JS have also started capturing a huge chunk of the backend development market. 
  • Ruby: Ruby on Rails is another emerging programming language for web development. Most of the web developers and startups have started adopting Ruby.
  • Dot NET: .NET framework is not so popular nowadays.  It is mostly used at the enterprise level.

For a beginner who wants to start a career in web development, it is very difficult to choose a programming language. I have found most of the beginners switch to a new language in their early days which makes them more confusing. That’s why in this blog post, I will help you by covering various aspects, features, and benefits of PHP and Python. 

What is Python?

Python is a high-level, object-oriented programming language that has built-in data structures. It is an ideal choice for rapid web development since it is combined with dynamic typing and binding. Python also enhances code reusability and system modularity. 

Python is very easy to learn because you need to write very few short lines of code in comparison to other languages. Let us discuss other benefits and features of Python.

a) Portable:

Python is a portable programming language so it can run on various platforms. For example: if you have written Python code for Windows and if you want to run this code on other operating systems like Mac, Linux, and Unix then changes on your code is not required. 

b)Automatic Garbage Collection:

Python has an automatic garbage collection feature which means Python automatically deletes unwanted objects to free the memory space. Python performs garbage collection periodically by which it frees and reclaims the block of memory that is no longer used. 

c) Interactive Testing and Debugging:

Interactive testing & debugging is one of the most important features offered by Python. Python provides an interactive debugging environment for developers. Using this feature, you can pause the code execution to inspect the state and watch code execution step-by-step. 

d) Dynamic Type Checking:

Python offers high-level dynamic data types and also supports dynamic type checking. Dynamic type checking means the script is written in dynamically typed language and type checking is performed at run time. 

e) Prebuilt Libraries:

One of the benefits of Python is it offers many prebuilt libraries. Prebuilt libraries help to speed up your development task since a prebuilt library is a collection of pre-combined codes and you can access them by installing the package instead of writing everything from scratch. 

f) Web Framework:

Python has famous frameworks for web applications such as Django, tkmter, and WXPython. Django is one of the most popular Python frameworks for web application development that follows MTV or MVT (Model Template View) architecture. After learning Python fundamentals, you can directly jump to Django and can learn it within a couple of weeks. 

What is PHP?

PHP stands for Hypertext Pre-processor. PHP is a widely-used programming language for backend web development. It is used for developing a dynamic website or web application. PHP is a database friendly language, you can add, update, delete data in the database.  

Let us discuss why you should learn PHP and what are the benefits and features of Python.

a) Supports many databases:

PHP language supports many databases such as Oracle, MySQL, MongoDB, MaxDB, Paradox and many more. You can also easily connect your PHP application to Database within a few steps.

b) Error reporting:

PHP has built-in error reporting functions which will show warnings when you make mistakes while coding. PHP allows developers to control the number of errors to show in code.  

c) Runs efficiently on server-side:

PHP runs efficiently on the server-side hence  it is chosen as a server-side scripting language. PHP is also supported by almost 95% of the hosting providers. PHP is compatible with servers like Apache, NGINX, and LightHTTPD.

PHP Vs. Python: Key Difference:

  • Python is a  high-level, object-oriented programming language that has pre-built data structures and is used for rapid development whereas PHP stands for Hypertext pre-processor and is used to develop dynamic web applications. 
  • Key features of Python: rapid web development, dynamically typed whereas key features of PHP are easy development, supported by many web servers and databases. 
  • Python is easy to learn whereas it takes more time to learn PHP.
  • Python supports so many pre-built libraries and packages whereas PHP lags in this aspect. 
  • PHP 7.x is 3 times faster than a typical Python program. 
  • Web frameworks of Python are Django, Flask, Pylons, Pyramid whereas web frameworks of PHP are: Laravel, Zend, Symfony. 
  • Python provides an interactive testing & debugging tool called PDB (Python Debugger) whereas PHP provides the XDebugger package and built-in error reporting tool. 
  • Database connectivity in Python is not stronger whereas PHP supports many databases. 

Summary:

Python and PHP are both good in their way but choosing one of them depends on you. But for easy learning and rapid web development, I would recommend Python.

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