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PYTHON VS PHP: A Detailed Comparision

In today’s tech-savvy world, there are umpteen numbers of mobile as well as web apps that have become a part of our everyday lives. These apps have literally become the backbone of consumer service from various sectors. Be it online shopping, medical consultation, streaming music or movies, apps are in the heart of everything we do and need. 

With the rising number of apps that are being launched every day, the competition amongst the app developers and the methodology used for developing them is also shooting up. An efficient and strong app is the result of powerful backend development, which is one of the most coveted skills in today’s world. Any web/mobile app that is launched by any business is connected to a backend server, which highlights the need for backend development. 

Backend development can be done using various languages like Python, PHP, JavaScript, Ruby, DotNET etc. For any programmer, choosing any one of these languages can be baffling as all of them come with a plethora of options in terms of frameworks, libraries, implementation etc. Two of the very well-known backend languages are PHP & Python. In this article, we are going to draw a comparison between the two, which will make it easier for you to make your pick. 

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Python-Overview 

Python was built by Guido van Rossum and was launched in the year 1991. It is a High-level functional programming language. It has a wide array of usage in terms of system scripting, web development, app development, software development etc. The most prominent features of this language include implementing high-end mathematics calculations, web app development, database connectivity etc. Some of the special characteristics of this language include: 

  • Ability to be implemented on various platforms, making it a portable language.
  • Inclusion of low-level modules in the Python interpreter.
  • Facilitates Debugging sessions & interactive testing.
  • Has the scope of unification with programming languages like C++, Java, C etc.
  • Designed to manage garbage collection & memory addresses.
  • Provides a connected environment that helps the developers to test the code before real-time implementation.
  • GUI Application friendly and has an in-built web framework. Eg. Django, tkmter etc.
  • Furnishes interactive database interface to the prominent DBMS systems, hence making it database-friendly.

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PHP – Overview

An extensively used scripting language, PHP stands for Hypertext Pre-processor. This language is known for producing page content that is dynamic in nature. It can receive and send out cookies and can also open, close, delete, write & read files on the server. Like Python, PHP is also database-friendly and is capable of performing read/write operations on the database. Some of the special traits of this language include: 

  • Facilitates various databases like My SQL, Oracle etc., therefore, offering integration of databases.
  • Compatible with most of the servers.
  • By generating a summary of the latest user access, it has a feature of access logging.
  • It can be implemented on multiple channels like Windows, Mac OS, Linux etc.
  • Pre-set constants which report error which further gives out an error-warning.

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PHP v/s Python – Pointers For Comparison

PHP & Python are two very powerful languages. The comparison will be on the basis of the following factors which very significantly impact the choice of selecting the desired web framework: 

  • Debugging – Debugging is one of the very important features to take into consideration while picking a language. If a language doesn’t facilitate proficient debugging tools, it will drastically affect the productivity of the developers. 
  • Framework Proficiency – Well-designed & easy to understand frameworks for web development is one of the most crucial features of any programming language, as it simplifies the whole process of development. 
  • Support of Libraries – The number of developers building new libraries will be very high in the case of a vastly used programming language, which in turn makes the process of development smoother. 
  • Understanding and Development Simplicity – Ease of understanding is undeniably one of the basic features in deciding the type of web framework to be used. Any language that is unnecessarily complicated will not be preferred by the developers. 
  • Database Connectivity – In the developing days of today, data science is the one card to rule them all. In such a situation, it is very important for the backend programming languages to offer efficient database connectivity. 
  • Performance Speed – The applications on the server-side sometimes need low latency along with high tolerance capability. Hence, it is very important to keep in mind the execution speed of a language before using it. 
  • Community Support – Whenever we come across any problem during coding, we generally tend to look it up online on various forums. Therefore, having large community support is very important, people who are well-versed with the language.

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Let us now look at these pointers one by one.

Debugging

Python comes with an in-built debugger known as PDB or Python Debugger, which is very powerful in nature. PDB is a very easy to use, well-structured debugger tool that is preferred by beginners. 

XDebug is the name of the debugging package provided by PHP. Both these debugger tools come with customary features like path mapping, breakpoints, stacks etc. In the case of debugging, both languages stand on the same level.

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Framework Proficiency

In Python, frameworks like Flask, Pyramid, Django, Pylons are the most commonly used ones. Django is a framework that is very safe, fast, scalable and easy to use. It is extensively used in several applications, owing to its robust nature. The time of development in case the of Django is less as compared to other frameworks and is also easy to install. Hence, it is usually the first preference of the new developers. 

In the case of PHP, Codeigniter, Symfony, Zend etc., are the most popularly used web frameworks. The most commonly used PHP based frameworks in the market are Laravel & Codeigniter. All the applications developed using PHP use either of these two frameworks.

Support Of Libraries

All the backend applications should possess the ability to process high volumes of compound logic & functionalities in order to empower uninterrupted service via apps on the front-end. With well-structured libraries in place, a developer can, instead of developing scalable afresh, easily build more logic & functionality without any hassle. 

In this case of php vs Python, Python is the hands-down winner. Being extraordinarily well-built, Python libraries aid the latest features in the market and also have the flexibility to add more needed for any

application. It has marvellous libraries for Machine Learning like Scikit Learn, TensorFlow Theano etc. Very easy to understand, these libraries are speed-efficient and can very easily integrate with any web framework.

Understanding & Development Simplicity

Thanks to the easy & simple syntax, Python is the clear winner in this domain. It is a high-level programming language used for most general purposes and can quickly be learnt by anyone. It has a very fun-to-use, interactive methodology and comes with spic & span documentation. 

The codes in Python are very easy to write & shorter in length in contrast to other languages. This and other reasons is why nowadays, in most computer language courses for beginners, Python is being used to explain the fundamentals of programming. 

On the other hand, PHP is not a language for general-purpose. It is mainly used in the development of apps/software that is way more sophisticated. Therefore, this explains why Python is relatively easier to learn than PHP.

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Database Connectivity

This is one domain where PHP leaves behind Python, owing to the high-end performance and connectivity ease it offers. PHP has access support for more than 25 databases of different types, whereas Python has limited choices in terms of database integration. Python-based frameworks have an affinity to ORM, which hampers their performance. 

However, Python is rapidly covering the gap of connectivity speed and is being used by a lot of startups for developing backend apps. As of now, PHP stands the clear winner in this case.

Performance Speed

The performance speed of PHP varies according to its version. If you look at PHP 5.x, it has a slower execution speed as compared to PHP 7.x, which is thrice as fast as any Python program. Performance speed is very important when it comes to applications that are performance-critical. For eg, in algorithmic stock trading, in which a transaction in millions happens in seconds, a delay by even 3-4 seconds might cause a trader to lose a significant amount of money. 

Hence, in the case of performance speed, PHP bags a noticeable victory.

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Community Support

Python & PHP are both open-source languages, which implies that they both have high levels of flexibility that it adds to the competent core technology. 

Being open-source, a lot of developers can easily create & add libraries to both Python & PHP. 

Having been in the market for quite some time now to facilitate the development of web apps, the PHP developer community is vast and is readily available to provide any kind of support that is needed. 

To summarize all the pointers of comparison:

Parameters Python PHP
Debugging Has a powerful debugger

Offers XDebug package

known as PDB or Python

as a powerful

Debugger

debugging tool

Framework 

Efficiency

Symfony, Zend,

Pyramid, Flask, Django,

Codeigniter, Laravel

Pylon

Support of Libraries 

Understanding & Development 

Simplicity

Has extraordinarily

Packagist or PHP

well-structured libraries

Package repository

supporting most of the

applications

Very easy to learn.

Harder to learn as

Preferred by most of the

compared to Python

beginners

Database 

Connectivity

Not as efficient as PHP in

Has access to more

terms of database

than 25 databases

integration 

Performance Speed It is fast. PHP is 3 times faster.
Community 

Support

Almost close to PHP Excellent community support

Conclusion

To summarize the comparison of php vs Python, both the languages are in a strong fight. Some people find Python to be better than PHP; some people think vice-versa. Both the languages have their exceptional features as well as areas of improvement. Depending upon the user’s need and how well-versed you are with the language, one should make a pick.

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