Python has gained some popularity in the past few years, but Python is a fairly old programming language that has been around since 1991. So, Python is actually almost three decades old.
Python is now one of the most widely-used programming languages, even though Python is fairly slow with performance limitations. So, why is it popular?
Below, we will learn more about Python, its unique advantages, its weaknesses, and why it is quickly becoming one of the most desirable programming languages to learn.
Unique characteristics and overview of Python
Python, as with any other programming language, has its own set of unique advantages and disadvantages, and here are some unique characteristics of the Python language we should know:
- Python ends a command with new lines, while most other programming languages use semicolons or parentheses to complete a command.
- Other programming languages like C use brackets to define scopes (which makes it harder to read). On the other hand, Python uses whitespace and indentation to define scopes, loops, functions, and classes.
- Python’s syntaxes are relatively similar to the English language and basic mathematics logic. So, Python’s syntax is relatively simpler to understand.
- Python’s programs are shorter than C + + and Java due to built-in high-level data types and dynamic typing capabilities.
Below, we will have a more in-depth discussion of these unique advantages and disadvantages.
Benefits and advantages of Python programming language
#1. User experience
Python’s key benefit that makes it so popular compared to other programming languages is its intuitive UX. As discussed, Python is one of the few programming languages that primarily use English syntaxes like ‘if,’ ‘not,’ and other syntaxes. It is, therefore, easier to read and understand even by a non-programmer.
Python also utilizes specific indentations eliminating the use of curly brackets and other visually complex symbols. These simple language rules made Python a very readable language with great overall UX.
Python is a very versatile programming language. There are no strict rules that require us only to use a certain way to build something, and overall it is a more forgiving language when there are small errors.
A Python program will still run when there’s an error in the code and stop only when it hits the error code. This feature alone makes Python easier to debug. With Python, you can experiment with various methods to achieve the same objective and use your own pace in building your program.
#3. Ease of Use
Python is very intuitive and easy to use in building anything from a mobile app to video games to a full-fledged standalone software.
Also, various tutorials and forums are available for learning Python, which is why many programmers are now striving to learn Python, competing for head to head with Java as the top language for beginner programmers.
Python as a High-Level Language
Python can be categorized as a high-level programming language. In general, we can list the popular programming languages from top to bottom as the following:
- Python and PHP
- Ruby, Perl
- Google’s Go
- Java, C, and C++
- Assembly/machine binary language
The lowest programming language is the machine binary code (the 0s and 1s) in programming philosophy. The further the coding language from these binary machine codes and the closer it is to human’s speech and written language, the “higher” the level.
With that being said, Python is considered the highest level out of all the programming languages, together with PHP. Python is an interpreted and dynamic programming language and must run in a specific system/program rather than directly running in a local processor.
Like Java and C++, other languages are translated into Assembly when compiled and then run directly in the local processor. Python is not subject to the processor and is an interpreted language.
Since Python is a high-level language, it is also much easier to understand, and the code produced is typically much shorter than in Java or C.
Also Read: 13 Top Benefits Of Computer Programming
Why Python Is Popular Among Developers
Nowadays, many developers/programmers and software development companies prefer using Python compared to other popular languages like Java and even PHP. Although, as mentioned, Python is almost three decades old, it has undergone various updates and major overhauls to be what it is today.
Now, Python 3.5 has a more streamlined workflow with fewer modules and more innovative features. Python also offers a large number of ready packages, templates, and libraries so you can build a program fast without having to write the code from scratch.
Below are some further reasons why Python is now very popular in various software development companies:
Also Read: 35 Funny And Best Python Programming Memes
1. Readability and easier collaboration
Since Python is, as discussed, a high-level language with syntaxes similar to everyday English, it’s easier for programmers and developers to read and understand the code. A programmer can easily share the code with others in the same team, and everyone can have an easier time understanding it.
Python is also relatively easy to learn, so it’s easier to teach it to a beginner developer who joined a team. Since Python produced far shorter codes compared to Java and C++, this would also translate to efficiency.
2. Libraries and packages
Python offers extensive libraries that developers can use for free, and there are many packages for various programming applications.
Most frequently-used programming functions are included within the Python libraries, so developers can avoid writing many redundant codes from scratch. Again, this can be a major timesaver.
3. Object-oriented programming
With Python’s object-oriented programming capability, you can create various reusable structures. Again this can significantly improve efficiency as programmers wouldn’t need to write repetitive and redundant codes again and again.
While Python is not the only object-oriented programming language we have today (most modern languages are object-oriented), it is still a huge benefit for new programmers looking to learn Python and Python’s application large, team-based projects.
4. IoT capabilities
One of the key reasons why Python is now very popular is its usage in platforms like Raspberry Pi, which allows the emergence of various IoT devices and sensors.
A key advantage from a business standpoint, Python, is free to use and distribute. This can significantly lower the cost of software development. Since it is an open-source platform, businesses can easily modify some Python aspects as required, making it even more versatile.
Python VS Other Languages: Comparisons
Let’s now see how Python stands against other popular programming languages such as PHP, Java, Node.js, Golang, and Ruby.
A. Python VS PHP
PHP is another high-level programming language that is also popular, especially among beginners. Here are some key factors how Python compares with PHP:
- Ease of use: Python offers a much easier and simpler syntax, although PHP can be easier to use in a web development setting.
- Versatility: PHP is developed for web development and web apps creation, so it is technically a set of individual scripts. Python, however, is a more flexible language, and you can use it in many different applications.
- Frameworks: PHP offers various popular frameworks like Codeigniter, Laravel, and Symfony, among others. Python, on the other hand, has Django and Flask but offers fewer frameworks overall.
- Popularity: Python and PHP are both really popular. However, newer platforms and recent projects tend to prefer Python.
Also Read: Python 3 Program To Add Two Matrices
B. Python VS Java
Java is a static and compiled language, while Python is dynamically typed and interpreted (not directly compiled).
Java code needs to be compiled from a higher-level language (readable by humans) into Assembly, machine binary language, while Python doesn’t need to be compiled.
Meaning, Python generally has a faster launch time but slower run time, while Java offers a faster run time but slower launch time.
Here are some important factors to consider when comparing Python and Java:
- Ease of use: Python is obviously much easier to learn and use than Java, so Python is more popular for beginners. Java has a pretty steep learning curve, so mastering it requires a significant time investment.
- Stability: Java is considered a very robust and stable language compared to Python, especially due to its enterprise-friendly libraries, making it more stable and secure than Python, although Python is not that far behind at the moment, and it has what it takes to build enterprise-level software and programs.
- Complexity: Java is much more complex, and due to its language, the code will be much longer than Python. In general, the same programmer that knows both Java and Python would be much faster in Python.
- Compatibility with newer technologies: Python is famous for being the go-to language for newer trends like machine learning and artificial intelligence due to its various AI and machine learning-focused libraries.
Also Read: Python 3 Program to Check Armstrong Number
C. Python VS Node. Js
Again, here are some key factors to consider between Python and Node.Js:
- Architecture: js features a single thread event loop. Paired with Node.js’s non-blocking nature, Node.js can handle thousands of connections without needing to perform thread context switching, making it really popular for web applications. Python, on the other hand, needs special libraries like asyncio to perform asynchronous programming.
- Speed: Python is relatively slower compared to Node.js, mainly because Node.js allows advanced multithreading.
- Versatility: Python is a versatile language and is currently the go-to choice in developing applications for trending technologies like AI machine learning and IoT. While Node.js is also quite versatile, it is mainly used for building web applications.
- Ease of use: Again, Python is much easier to use with its simpler syntax, allowing us to write fewer lines to achieve more.
D. Python VS Golang
Golang is another popular programming language that is quite similar to Python in several different ways. First, both are high-level languages, and there are also several similarities in syntaxes (like Golang’s slices and maps, which are similar to Python’s lists and dicts.)
However, there are also several key differences between Python and Golang:
- Syntax: Golang and Python’s syntaxes are built with very similar approaches and key emphasis on readability. Python’s developers won’t have much issue understanding Golang, and vice versa.However, Golang doesn’t have a try-except but will return any error along with a result. So, with Golang, you’d need to check whether an error was returned every time you use a function.
- Typing: Python is dynamically typed, and Golang features static typing. Python is an interpreted language, and golang is a compiled language. Python is slightly easier to use than Golang due to the dynamic checking but is slower.
- Implementation: Golang is faster than Python, but Python is more versatile. A common approach is to write in Golang for its faster performance, then transition to Python for everything else. Due to the similarities between the two, transitioning from one to the other is relatively easy.
F. Python VS Ruby
Ruby, like Python, is an interpreted language. It is 100% object-oriented and open-source, intended as a general-purpose language. Ruby has various web frameworks, but Ruby on Rails (or just Rails) is the most popular one. Although Ruby is a general-purpose language, it is mostly used to develop web applications.
Here are some core areas we should consider when comparing the two:
- Ease of use: Python is much easier to use with far better readability. However, Ruby is a more expressive and powerful language.
- Implementation: Ruby is better at developing high-traffic web applications quickly, while Python has more use cases since it’s faster to write with. Python is the better choice in prototyping, data analysis, and heavy-duty applications. Python also has more libraries.
- Versatility: Python emphasizes simplicity and readability over versatility, while Ruby focuses more on freedom and flexibility.
Also Read: 10+ Reasons Why You Should Teach Coding To Kids.
Python Libraries and Implementations
Here are some common real-word applications of Python at the moment:
- Software development: You can use Python for software testing, management, and building control
- Internet and web: Python offers libraries for internet applications like FTP, JSON, HTML, and email processing
- Science and numeric: Again, there are various libraries for scientific use like SciPy, IPython, and NumPy.
- 3D modeling: including game development with 3D rendering libraries like PyKyra and PyGame
- Business: Python is very popular in developing e-commerce applications and ERP due to libraries like Odoo and Tryton
- GUI: Another area where Python shines with Delphi and also other popular libraries like Tk and Kivy
Python is a very versatile high-level programming language, but at the same time, it is effortless to learn and use. This is why Python is now the most popular programming language to learn among beginners.
On the other hand, due to its simplicity and wide availability of libraries, Python is also popular among developers since building a Python program is faster and more efficient than other languages.
However, as discussed above, Python is a perfect language by no means, and it has its own advantages and disadvantages. Yet, at the moment, the unique advantages offered by Python outweigh the advantages by a large margin.
If you are planning to learn a programming language, Python can be a great place to start due to its ease of use and versatility.