Before starting battle for the best Java vs Python we should know what is a programming language. So let’s start to know what a programming language is.
As you know the computer is a machine and it does not understand a language in the sense we humans do, it only understands binary language i.e a series of zeros and ones.
Which is too complicated for a human to learn and understand. Hence, We invented computer languages that use some mnemonics that is easier for humans to understand, which is then either interpreted directly or compiled to a series of zeros and ones, this series is a set of instruction that is programmed in the computer circuit to perform specific tasks, but we will not go that deep into this understanding and jump straight to Java vs Python starting with the introductions.
Let’s just say that, for now, Computer languages are nothing more than a notational system for describing computation in a human-readable and machine-readable form (directly or indirectly).
INTRODUCTION TO JAVA
Java is an object-oriented high-level programming language and specially designed to put as few execution dependencies as possible.
James Gosling has developed Java in 1991 in Sun Microsystem but in 1995 Java’s first version java 1.0 publically released. The latest version of Java is Java 10, released on March 20, 2018, which follow Java 9 after only six months with the new released.
It was initially named “Oak” after an oak tree that stood outside of Gosling office later the project was named “Green” but finally, it changed into “Java” at the name of Java coffee. Gosling designed Java with a C/C++ style syntax which sounds familiar to system and application programmers.
INTRODUCTION TO PYTHON
Python is an open source language. Coding in Python is very simple and easy to learn.
It was developed by Guido Von Russom in December 1989 at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in the Netherlands as a successor to the ABC language. Python can be used for a small or big project and these projects can be online or offline.
The name Python was taken from the 1970s, popular BBC comedy tv show called Monty Python’s Fly Circus and Van Rossum was the big fan of the show. So when Python was developed Rossum named it “Python“.
COMPARISON: JAVA Vs PYTHON
- In Java, every expression and line of code must be terminated but semi-colon but Python provides you with the flexibility to use it or not.
- Java blocks are defined using parenthesis whereas Python uses indentation to define blocks. Due to the use of parenthesis java makes indentation optional and thus the code might look messy and complex but with python, on the other hand, the code always looks clean and properly structured.
- Java is a compiled language so if there are multiple syntax errors in the code then the compiler will show all of them at once whereas Python is an interpreted language hence, the code is interpreted line by line therefore only the first error is shown by the interpreter at the time of execution.
Object Oriented :
- Python is considered a hybrid. It’s the programmer’s choice whether he/she wants to use this language as a procedural language or as an object-oriented. Python code can be completely procedural. There’s no public, private, protected keyword in python.
- In Java, it is impossible to write a program without creating a class. Java supports all the features of Object orientation in Java such as Inheritance, Polymorphism, Encapsulation, Abstraction etc.
- Though none of the programming languages is purely object-oriented, both of them have object-oriented features incorporated in it. If you look closely you will find that though python is almost used as a procedural language, you can write thousands of applications in python without even creating a single class, still, python is closer to the ideal OOP language. (This point is debatable). But how?.
- Python has no primitive types (everything is an object – ints, bools, classes, whatever – especially classes-as-objects is quite cool because it allows metaclasses and functions that generate and return classes, like “namedtuple“).
- Python supports arbitrary message routing (objects can receive any message, with user-specified logic on how to handle it – for example this is used in Django’s ORM, where you have “pretend methods” on your data models that allow filtering, aggregation and such; when you call one of these non-existing methods, the code for them will be generated live and added to the class, so it becomes a normal method call for all other instances and uses).
- BUT the code written in Python is almost procedural.
- There is no common consensus as to which language is more pure object-oriented. It is impossible to know that for a fact that Python is more of a practical, pragmatic language. It contains features that are more suitable and easier to use for a programmer rather than sticking to the OOPs or other theoretical concepts, Python mostly focus on ease of use and simplicity so Java is more Object Oriented in this Java vs Python OOPs category.
Platform Independence :
- Java, when launched boasted of the concept of WORA (Write Once Run Anywhere). Java at that time compared mostly to its other compiled brothers C, C++, etc. Java uses JVM as a virtual environment to run the compiled java code. Java code when once compiled does not produce the good old machine language, i.e series of zeros and ones. rather it generates byte-code that is used by the JVM to run the specific functionalities that were already built into it.
- The actual Python language will run portably on any platform but the external libraries that comprise the major portion of the language and contains more important features may or may not work. I personally have worked with so many python projects that needed to work on multiple platforms and ran into very little or no cross-platform issues. With Java, it is virtually impossible to get into such issues the way it is built it to support this feature.
- In the end, I think it comes down to what language you like working with and what kind of deployment you need to perform. Java may provide you with better cross-platform support, and that is something you cannot give away then Java surely is a better option but if cross-platform is not that big of an issue and you can handle a little bit of it yourself then Python will provide you more flexibility.
Flexibility and simplicity:
- Python is duck typed language meaning it does not have data types. The data types of the variable changes according to the value that it holds. Duck typing follows the idea of “If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck“.
- Java is a statically typed language which means that the programmer needs to specify the data type that the variable will hold before creating the variable. Once a variable is created its data type cannot be changed.
- Python is created to be simple and easy to learn the language. It does not force the programmer to follow any of the programming language paradigms. It provides the programmer with all the flexibility he/she needs to get the job done. With Python, the programmer can focus on the actual logic of the application rather than considering the language related issues.
- Java considering it forces the programmer to follow specific rules, for example, Creation of classes is compulsory. Java trades of flexibility and simplicity for robustness.
- Java strongly focuses on classes and structured programs and follows software engineering guidelines. Java provided much more interoperability and scalability of code. With Java no amount of code is too much it can be handled very efficiently if all the guidelines are followed.
- Java code, when compared to python, provides much better scalability, as well as the code, can be maintained well. By following all the OOPs guidelines, Java tends to be more secure and effective for corporate use rather than beginners.
- Python trades off scalability and interoperability for simplicity. If you are an individual, a small firm, or a researcher in any field and have some idea that you want to implement and test before you actually deploy it, Python is a favorable language in that case.
- Though python is simple to learn and understand, the python code though is smaller than that of Java’s. Things start to go south very fast when the code length starts to grow, If your code is big enough python will start to give you headaches, if multiple people are working on same projects and share the same codebase – python will be problematic (not in every case). Java, on the other hand, tends to handle such a situation with ease and grace.
- In regards to performance and speedy execution in Java vs Python, Java clearly has an upper hand over python. Since Python is an interpreted language, It is expected for it to run slower when compared to any compiled language, given the optimization and regular updates that Oracle provides Java’s performance is hard to beat by any interpreted language as of now.
CONCLUSION (Java Vs Python): Which one is best for whom
If you are a beginner and have a very little or no experience in a programming language, with no doubt Python is a better option for you.
Even if you are an individual from a background that is different from computer science and wants to do some programming to test some hypothesis or do some computation python is always a better choice.
Python provides so many external libraries and so many features that it can be used in almost any field. Python is such a simple language that if you learn to program in python you are almost learning the basics of most of the programming languages out there.
If you want to solely focus on the business logic and not worry about any other language related issues then python is the way to go.
Java is for those who have some experience of programming languages and know what they are getting into.
If cross-platform execution is something you desire most or you give more importance to refactoring and maintainability of code then java is better. Java is mostly used by corporate and medium to large size firms as the java codebase tends to be much more robust.
If performance is something that is of utmost importance – then though Java is better than Python, the discussion will surely move to Java vs c or c++.