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A blog about software development best practices, how-tos, and tips from practitioners.

Python vs. PHP: The Battle Is ON

Python vs. PHP: The Battle Is ON

Both Python and PHP are prominent and powerful languages and amongthe two, Python is used for general purposes similar to Java and PHP which are mostly used for web development. They are quite different from one another in terms of defining variables, syntax, speed, areas of application, code readability, etc. Python came to the market earlier than PHP whereas PHP is a more popular language.

There is an interesting cold war occurring between PHP fans and Python lovers and it’s not showing any signs of dying down. It will be interesting to see how Python and PHP raise their game to win!

Best Wishes to them!

What is Python?

Python is a high-level programming language used for general purposes. Guido van Rossum, a Dutch programmer created Python in 1991 with a design philosophy of code readability with significant use of whitespace. It follows an object-oriented approach and allows programmers to write clean code. Often, Python is described as ‘batteries included’ for its standard exclusive libraries. It also supports procedural and functional programming paradigms. The garbage collection system in Python is quite straightforward with automatic memory management.

With a simple syntax and grammar, Python believes in a design philosophy called ‘there should be one—and preferably only one—obvious way to do it’ contrary to Pearls’ philosophy, ‘there is more than one way to do it’.

The latest version of Python is 3.7.3 which was released on 25 March 2019.

The core philosophy of Python as mentioned in the Zen of Python (document):

  • Beautiful is better than ugly
  • Explicit is better than implicit
  • Simple is better than complex
  • Complex is better than complicated
  • Readability counts

Generic Features of Python

  • Easy to read & maintain.
  • It can run on different hardware platforms with the same interface.
  • You can add different low-level modules to the Python interpreter.
  • Python features a suitable structure as well as support for large programs.
  • Python hasan automatic garbage collection.
  • It has interactive modes for testing & debugging.
  • It supports high-level dynamic data types and dynamic type checking.
  • You can integrate Python with Java, C, and C++.

What is PHP?

Like Python, PHP or Hypertext Preprocessor is also a generic purpose programming language. However, it was originally designed as a web development language. A Danish-Canadian programmer named Rasmus Lerdorf created PHP in 1994.

You can execute PHP with a Command Line Interface (CLI) which is embedded into HTML. In addition, you can go with a combination of various web template systems. Generally, a PHP interpreter deploys the code as a module on a web server. If we keep aside the web context, we can use PHP for robotic control drone and standalone graphical applications also.

The latest version of PHP is 7.0 and it was released on 3rd December 2015.

Generic Features of PHP:

  • PHP Database Integration supports an array of databases including Oracle, MySQL, etc.
  • In comparison to other scripting languages, PHP is easy to use.
  • A faster option than ASP and JSP.
  • Predefined error reporting constants.
  • PHP has access logging.

Python vs. PHP

Python vs. PHP is a never-ending battle and we can’t get rid of the fact that Python is cooler than PHP in several fields and vice versa! We are comparing both languages in the light of some pre-defined parameters in the following table:

Parameter

Python

PHP

Frameworks

Python has fewer frameworks

PHP has more frameworks

Popularity

Broadly used indata science, AI and scientific community

Main choice for web development

Database Connectivity

Narrow database connectivity support

Supports more than 20 various databases

Community Support

Currently growing fast.

Broader community support.

Learning curve

Python is perfect for long-term projects.

PHP has a very low learning curve.

Readability

Python uses strict indentation enforcements that empower more readability.

Being a highly documented language, PHP follows a classic approach

Type of language

General purpose programming language

Web development programming language.

Syntax

Quite clear and concise.

The built-in library has  a large number of naming conventions

A famous company using this technology

Uber, Pinterest, Mozilla

Hootsuite, Viber, Appcelerator

Git hub stars

30.4 K

30 K

Fork

8.23 K

8.04 K

TIOBE rating

4th position

7th position

Key Features

Rapid development &Dynamic typing

Open source, Easy Deployment, and, Continual Improvements.

Best frameworks

Flask, Django, jam.py.

Slim, Laravel, Fast-free framework.

Salaries

The average amount: $120,024 per year

The average amount: $86,017 per year.

 

The Basic Coding Differences

Let’s see how both PHP and Python differ from each other in terms of their code functionalities:

Basic Coding Differences

Python

PHP

Variables

Defining variables in Python is a simple hack. If you want to define a variable and set value (1) for it, just mention in words (one).

 

You can define the variable as numbers in PHP.

Control Flow

‘If’ and ‘Else’ are used as expressions for true and false.

Same like Python

Looping / Iterator

Python has various looping forms. ‘While’ is used for a true statement and ‘for’ is used for the false one, provided with a looping condition.

PHP uses While, Do-While, For and Foreach Loops.

 

PHP vs. Python Performance Comparison

A PHP vs. Python performance comparison will be an absolute idea to find out the strong competitor. Setting apart the technical parameters, we are using some general parametersto know which scores more in the Python vs. PHP war.

Ease of Learning

Python is one of the painless languages to learn. It has more code readability rather than other frameworks. In addition, with simpler syntax; Python is the king of big data now.

Unlike Python, PHP is not a general purpose language and it is solely built for web development.

Documentation

There is no clear winner between Python and PHP regarding document availability. Exclusive documents are available for learning both.

Community Support

Being a favored framework, PHP has strong community support. The popularity of this web development framework has generated a huge community for the same from where you can get immense support from all.

The most popular social network, Facebook runs on PHP. However, Python got its popularity when apps like YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Redditstarted using it.

Library Support

Python has excellent and well-developed library support and it beats PHP.When we talk about web development, PHP is like a dominating language. However, Python has some extraordinary machine learning libraries such as TensorFlow, Keras, Theano, Scikit Learn, etc. along with web development compatibility. In addition, the libraries of Python are easier to use, faster, and have better integration than other frameworks.

Speed

Speed is a critical factor to judge the performance of two frameworks. 

Each time a file is created or modified; Python converts the code into bytecode. This code compilation method makes Python quicker than PHP. PHP programmers can simply improve the speed of PHP applications by installing a variety of caching systems. By default, Python is a faster language.

Learning Curve

Beginners find Python easy to understand and readable. Python has room for mistakes as the main code does not break due to small faults. This is one of the prominent reasons why the leading CS schools are adopting Python as a core language.

In addition, the PHP community is spending significant efforts to make the framework beginner friendly with all possible tutorials and courses.

Stack Overflow: Python vs. PHP tags

Stack Overflow is a popular developer’s platform where various development related questions are answered with the right solutions. Approximately more than 4 million developers use this platform every day. Therefore, it’s essential to compare the Python vs. PHP tags on this prominent platform.  Stack Overflow: Python vs. PHP tags

Image courtesy: guru99.com

Usage of PHP vs.Python for Web Development

It’s interesting to know the usage of PHP vs. Python for web development. The following diagram shows the percentage of how many websites use PHP and Python. Total 79.0% of all websites use PHP and in comparison to its overall 1.1% of websites using Python.Usage of PHP vs.Python for Web Development

Image courtesy: w3techs.com

The Market position of Python & PHP

Below is a graph according to a survey completed by w3techs.com on 29th May 2019, on the basis of traffic and popularity.Market position of Python & PHP

Image courtesy: w3techs.com

Summing Up

In terms of technical infrastructure Python always score high in the battle, Python vs. PHP, with impeccable code readability. When PHP is widely used for web development, Python is empowered with the magical power to define data science and machine learning apart from the capability of becoming a reliable web development platform. PHP is speedier than Python.

So choose wisely!

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