Python vs Java: Which one is better?

Python and Java are two of the most popular programming languages in the world, and for good reason. Both languages are object-oriented, mature and have large communities. However, there are some key differences between the two languages, and one may be better for your project than the other. We will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each language, and help you to decide which language is right for your next project by comparing them.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced programmer, choosing the right programming language for your project is essential. By understanding the key differences between Python and Swift, you can make an informed decision about which language is best suitable for your needs. Let’s read this article to find out more!

\"python

1. What is Python? 

1.1. Definition

Python was invented by Guido van Rossum in the late 1908s in the Netherlands. With the intention of developing a language that was easy to learn, yet powerful enough to be used for serious programming tasks, Python was born. 

It was first released to the public in 1991 and is still one of the most popular programming languages in the world, especially for beginners because it is relatively easy to learn and has a simple syntax.

This language has a wide range of packages and frameworks available, which extend its functionality and make it easier to use for specific tasks. TensorFlow, NumPy and Panda are three out of many Python available packages, mostly used for machine learning and data analysis. It also has two extremely popular back-end frameworks called Flask and Django.

Python is often used for writing scripts, rapid prototyping, as well as machine learning, data science and back-end development. 

1.2. Pros and Cons of using Python

Advantages

Let’s discover the reasons why this programming language is popularly used:

  • Easy to learn and use: Python has a simple syntax that is easy to read and write. This makes it a good choice for beginners and experienced programmers alike.
  • Versatile: It can be used for a wide variety of tasks, including web development, software development, data science and machine learning, task automation, scripting, and rapid prototyping.
  • Large community: It has a large and active community of users and developers. This means that there is a wealth of resources available to help you learn and use Python, and that there is a large pool of potential collaborators and employers.
  • Free and open-source: This language is free and open-source software, which means that you can use and modify it freely. This makes it a good choice for both commercial and non-commercial projects.

Drawbacks

To understand the language thoroughly, you should also know the cons of this language.

  • Slow speed: It is a dynamically typed language, which means that the type of a variable is determined at runtime. This can make Python code slower than code written in other languages, such as C and C++.
  • High memory usage: Python code also tends to use more memory than code written in other languages.
  • Weak mobile development support: It is not as well-suited for mobile development as some other languages, such as Java and Kotlin.
  • Lack of built-in database support: It does not have a built-in database management system, so you will need to use a third-party library if you need to access a database.

2. What is Java? 

2.1. Definition of Java

Java is a general-purpose programming language developed by James Gosling and his team at Sun Microsystems in the early 1990s. It was originally designed to be used for developing embedded systems, but it quickly became popular for developing a wide variety of applications, including mobile apps, web apps, game apps…

Java packages and frameworks are collections of classes and interfaces that provide common functionality for developing Java applications. Some of the most popular Java packages and frameworks are:

  • Java API (Java Platform Standard Edition): The Java API is a collection of packages that provide core functionality for Java applications. The Java API includes packages for things like networking, database access, and GUI development
  • Spring: This framework provides a comprehensive solution for developing Java apps. The Spring framework includes packages for things like dependency injection, inversion of control, and aspect-oriented programming.
  • Hibernate: Hibernate is an object-relational mapping (ORM) framework that provides a way to map Java objects to relational databases.

2.2. Pros and Cons of Java

Benefits of Java

  • Reliability: Java programs are checked for errors at compile time and run time. Java also has a garbage collector that automatically manages memory allocation and deallocation.
  • Performance: As a compiled language, Java programs are very fast and efficient. It also used a just-in-time (JIT) compiler to optimise code performance at run time.
  • Secure: Java has a number of features that help to prevent security vulnerabilities, such as bytecode verification and sandboxing.
  • Portability: Java programs are platform-independent. This means that Java programs can be run on any platform that has a Java Virtual Machine (JVM).
  • Large community: Java has a large and active community of developers as it has been around for many years. This means that there are many resources available for Java developers, such as tutorials, documentation, and libraries..

Java’s disadvantages

  • Verbose: This feature can make it difficult to read and maintain Java’s code.
  • Lack of flexibility: Java is a statistically typed language, making it less flexible.
  • Complexity: With a lot of features, Java is difficult to learn and use

3. What do Python and Java have in common?

Python and Java have a lot of common features. Both are general-purpose programming languages, as well as object-oriented languages. They can also be used in a variety of applications:

Let’s take a quick glance to find out more about their similar features:

  • Object-oriented programming languages: Both languages use objects to present data and behaviour
  • Large community: Python and Java have  a large and active community of developers. This means that there are many resources available for them, such as tutorials, documentation and libraries.
  • Maturity: Because they have been developed around for around 30 years, both are well-tested and have a proven track record.
  • Portability: Two languages can be run on a variety of platforms, which makes them good choices for developing cross-platform applications.

4. Differences between Python and Java

Despite the similarities, there are some important differences, let’s check out with our tables: 

\"\"

5. Python vs Java: Which one is better?

5.1. Satisfaction & Popularity

According to Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2023, Python is the third most popular programming language, following JavaScript and HTML, with 49.28% of developers saying they use it. It can be easily understanded as this language is a very popular choice to do back-end development with frameworks like Django and Flask. Moreover, it is most popular in machine learning and used by data scientists and data science teams. Java ranks 7th, with 30.55% of developers saying they use it.

\"\"/

In terms of satisfaction, Python ranks first among developers, with 80.1% of Python users saying they are satisfied with the language. Java is the fourth most popular programming language for developers who are satisfied with their jobs.

Moreover, we also use NPM Trends to compare NPM packages popularity. It measures how many times a certain NPM package was downloaded. It can be obviously seen that Java is more popular in terms of NPM package downloads, at 17,283 downloads, while the figure for Python was about 3 times lower. 

\"\"/

Another way to compare two programming languages is their communities. Stack Overflow Trends shows how technologies have been trended over time based on their tags. In recent 5 years, Python has grown its rate of Stack Overflow questions, while the percentage of Java questions has decreased a little bit. 

\"\"/

5.2. Performance

This is because Java is a compiled language, while Python is an interpreted language. In case you don’t know, compiled languages convert code into machine code before it is executed, while interpreted languages execute code line by line. That’s why Java may be faster than Python.

However, Python can be just as fast as Java for some applications as it can be used to write very efficient code. Ultimately, their performance may depend on the specific application and how the code is written.

Here is a small table comparing the performance of Python and Java:

FeaturePythonJava
PerformanceSlowerFaster
Speed of startupSlowerFaster
Memory usageHigher Lower

5.3. Ease of learning

Python has a simpler syntax and fewer features. Python also has a more expressive language, which means that Python code is often shorter and easier to read than Java code.

Java, on the other hand, is a more complex language. It also has more features than Python, and its syntax can be more complex. However, Java is a more powerful language than Python, and it can be used to develop more complex applications.

5.4. Stability

Java is a statically typed language, while Python is a dynamically typed language. Statically typed languages are less prone to errors than dynamically typed languages. In addition, Java also has a garbage collector, which automatically manages memory allocation and deallocation. This can help to prevent memory leaks and other memory-related problems. This table can bring you enough information to compare their stability:

FeaturePythonJava
Static typingDynamicStatic
Garbage collectionNoYes
Error-proneMoreLess
Memory leaksMore likelyLess likely

5.5. Code Readability

Regarding readability, Python is generally considered to be more readable than Java. This is because Python has a simpler syntax and fewer features. Python also has a more expressive language, which means that Python code is often shorter and easier to read than Java.

Python uses indentation to define blocks of code, while Java uses curly braces. This makes Python code more readable, as it is easier to see the structure of the code. Python also has a number of features that make it more readable, such as lists, dictionaries and generators. 

5.6. Memory Management

Python is a dynamically typed language, which means that the types of variables and expressions are not checked at compile time. This can lead to memory leaks if the programmer does not use the correct types. Python also does not have a garbage collector, so the programmer is responsible for managing memory allocation and deallocation.

Java is a statically typed language, which means that the types of variables and expressions are checked at compile time. This can help to prevent memory leaks. Java also has a garbage collector, which automatically manages memory allocation and deallocation.

Overall, Java is generally considered to be more memory-efficient than Python. This is because Java has a garbage collector, which can help to prevent memory leaks. However, Python can be just as memory-efficient as Java if it is used correctly.

6. Choosing the right programming language for your business

Ultimately, the best way to decide which language is right for your team is to consider your specific needs and preferences. If you are looking for a language that is easy to learn and flexible, then Python is a good choice. Whereas, Java should be considered in case you need a faster language that is more portable.  Consider your scenarios and preferences to choose one between them.

  • Project type: Python or Java are both good choices for web app development. However, if you are developing a data science or machine learning application, Python is the preferred language. If you are developing an enterprise application or an Android application, then Java would be better. 
  • Budget: Python is generally less expensive than Java, as it does not require a commercial licence.
  • Skill levels: If your team is new to programming, Python is a good choice because it is easier to learn than Java. If your team has experience with Java, then Java may be a better choice.
  • Future growth: Both Python and Java are mature languages with a bright future. However, Python is growing in popularity faster than Java.

Conclusion

To conclude, Python and Java are both excellent programming languages, and the best choice for your project will depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you are unsure which language to choose, then we recommend talking to other developers and getting their recommendations. You can also try both languages and see which one you prefer.

However, if you are still not sure which programming language is right for your business, it is a good idea to consult with a software development expert. They can help you assess your specific needs and recommend the best approach for your project. AgileTech offers a consulting service for you right now. When you choose to work with AgileTech, you will receive huge tech support as we have 8 years of software development experience with various programming languages. We have a proven record of building high-quality products for clients around the world, using various methodologies. If you need further information and consultation for your project, feel free to fill out this form to meet our IT experts!