PHP Vs Python: Which One is Really Superior for Web Development?

Computers & TechnologyTechnology

  • Author Kane Jason
  • Published August 22, 2022
  • Word count 1,435

A website serves as a hub for your digital ecosystem. Just like in a brick-and-mortar location, the experience matters once customers are inside, as much as how they perceive you before they walk through the door.

Hence, when developing a website, it's imperative that you choose the right technology stack. Choosing the right stack will help you build your website quickly and make it easy to maintain in the future. There are plenty of different languages out there that are hard to choose from, but it’s necessary that you find the right fit for your project criteria.

In today’s highly disruptive technology world, PHP and Python are among the most popular programming languages in the world. Where PHP is one of the oldest languages, powering 78.9% of all websites, Python is one the most popular web development language.

It’s not an easy decision to make, but in this post, we’ll show you the advantages of both, and hopefully give you a better idea of which one is right for you. Here is a breakdown of both languages so you can see which one would be the best fit for you.

IMPORTANT: Before we get into the comparison, let's first examine each language briefly. This will give you a grasp of the languages and guide you through the process.

What is Python?

The Python programming language is an object-oriented, general-purpose, high-level language used to develop mobile apps and websites. The language was created in 1991 by Guido Van Rossum and gained traction in 2000 when Python 2.0 was released.

The language is frequently used by software developers for building, controlling, managing, and testing. Python 2.0's support for Unicode is yet another feature that makes this language popular in web development. It is therefore one of the most popular programming languages among beginners as well as experienced developers.

Python is among the most desired and most loved languages, according to the Stack Overflow Survey 2021. Python is used for many popular websites including Instagram, Spotify, Netflix, Uber, Dropbox, Pinterest, Google, Reddit, and Lyft.

What is PHP?

The PHP programming language, also known as Hypertext Preprocessor, was discovered in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf. This open-source scripting language enables you to create user-centric, engaging web pages. PHP is widely used across the globe for building interactive websites. On the Internet, you can find PHP elements on almost eight out of ten websites.

Aside from its outstanding features, plugins, libraries, and add-ons, this language offers powerful community support and functionality that lets you build dynamic websites. It is regarded as one of the most popular languages; a great number of developers and communities around the world use it. Due to the continuous evolution of this language, the majority of modern websites continue to run on PHP.

An In-depth Comparison of PHP and Python:

We all know that each programming language has its own pros and cons. Choosing the right one for the right task is quite important for the further development of your project. That’s why we’ve decided to write a blog and compare PHP and Python and see which one is better for web development. To make it clear, we’ve decided to make a short analysis of each one and then make a conclusion based on the results.

Compared to each other's differences, you can identify the best language for Web development, which is easiest and most efficient to use, and which will produce the best results.

  1. Library Support
  • Library functions provided by Python free developers from writing coding from scratch. To date, more than 137,000 libraries are available for Python. Many different kinds of applications are developed using Python libraries, including applications for machine learning, data science, data visualization, image and data manipulation, etc.

  • Compared to Python, PHP has a weaker library management system. The number of libraries is much smaller in PHP. Additionally, PHP, lacking libraries to support it, might not be the best choice if you want to build ML-powered web applications. In this respect, Python is superior to PHP.

  1. Documentation
  • The PHP documentation system contains descriptions written in elementary and plain language, so both beginners and seasoned programmers can understand them. Documentation sites let developers comment on the documentation, however, these comments sometimes become a disadvantage as you can easily spot old comments at the top, confusing any developer greatly.

  • Unlike Python, which does not allow comments, there are no issues with Python. Documents in Python tend to be less conversational, which can sometimes make them difficult to read and understand. Here, PHP advantages Python, because developers can understand its documentation more easily.

  1. Learning Curve
  • Python, having simpler syntax and shorter line code, is comparatively easier to learn, making it suitable for both experts and beginners. Python is a general-purpose programming language that can be used to develop stand-alone and simple programs as well. Developers can code Python without having to worry about missing restrictions that may cause a build to fail.

  • PHP, on the other hand, is not a general-purpose language. PHP is only made for sophisticated web apps and has a bit of complicated syntax. PHP isn't the right choice if you need to build standalone, simple programs. Therefore, learning PHP takes longer than learning Python.

  1. Debugging Process
  • Python and PHP both come with powerful debuggers, allowing them to easily debug programs with features like stacks, breakpoints, path mapping, etc. Debugging with these debuggers is easy; the only difference is their setup.

  • PDB, or Python Debugger, is Python's built-in debugger. There is no need for any setup; just press the "debug" button to check the Python code. PDB offers dynamic typing, which lets programmers work effortlessly without having to declare everything at the very beginning of their program. The high readability score of Python will also be helpful to developers when debugging.

  • PHP also offers an XDebug package that can be used to address bugs and error-check the codes. However, it isn't inbuilt. PHP requires additional setup, slowing down the process of detecting and fixing bugs, which results in many security issues.

  1. Web Frameworks
  • Frameworks help us construct our applications with structure, and they let us add features without doing much work. Developers can reuse the code provided by frameworks by not having to redo it from scratch.

  • PHP and Python offer powerful and well-designed web development frameworks. PHP provides well-designed web frameworks that are used by many big companies like Spotify, Pfizer, and BBC. Symfony and Laravel, for instance, are mature frameworks that are well supported by a large community.

  • In addition to this, Python provides many remarkable frameworks, including Django and Flask- two of the most known Python-based web frameworks. The frameworks are easy to use, highly scalable, and fast. Django developers generally prefer PHP-based frameworks to Django because they are easier to set up and take less time to develop.

  1. Community Support
  • Adding to the ever-growing open-source knowledge base, the community can help the beginner, the expert, and everyone in between. Both Python and PHP have excellent support from their communities. Due to its longevity, PHP has a large community of developers who can immediately provide support, since it has been in the market for so long for developing web applications.

  • Meanwhile, Python is also similar to PHP; it gained attention after Google started using it for its YouTube app. This led to a number of other tech giants like Instagram and Uber using it in their backends.

  1. Performance
  • When performance is critical, speed becomes a critical factor. Up until a few years ago, Python was thought of as the fastest programming language. Versions of PHP 5. x was incredibly slow, taking a long time to execute. The latest version of PHP has revolutionized this.

  • Compared to a Python program, PHP 7. x is almost three times faster. Thanks to PHP, developers can now process large amounts of data quickly and with high performance. Ultimately, PHP's speed and scalability make it superior to Python's performance. PHP comes out on top here.

Conclusion:

Choosing the best development language can be a daunting task. Both Python and PHP are great languages with an active developer community, however, each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

If you are looking for a language that has a lot of resources, is easy to use, and has a lot of libraries available, then Python is a great option. If you are looking for a language that is easy to use, is open source, and has a large community of users, then PHP is a great option.

The choice ultimately rests with you.

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