Programming languages are as complex and unique as spoken languages. They have their own unique syntax and grammar. Reading a programming language can feel like reading a book — as long as you understand it.
Two popular programming languages are PHP and Python. They are both touted as being user-friendly and easy to learn. However, they each have distinct variations that make them better suited for certain projects.
Unless you are already a programmer, you may be unsure of the difference between PHP and Python.
Not to worry. We’re here to help you decipher the distinctions between these two programming languages so you can feel more confident in conversations with your programmer about which is best for your project.
What is PHP?
Let’s start with the basics. PHP stands for “Hypertext pre-processor.” So there, it all makes sense!
Ok, ok. We’ll break it down even further.
PHP is an open-source scripting language, meaning the source code is publicly available for free and can be modified or shared. It is most frequently used for web development and was primarily responsible for adding functionality to web pages, turning them from boring, static pages to dynamic, interactive spaces for users.
An example of how PHP can be used is movie theatre websites. Developers can use PHP to allow users to sort showtimes by time or theatre, choose their seats, and order food.
PHP Pros and Cons
PHP can be an asset, but it won’t work for every project. Consider these positive and negative aspects of PHP before landing on it as a programming language for your next project.
We’ll start with the benefits of PHP to help you to understand why programmers decide to use it when they are coding certain web projects. Consider these things when determining if it’s the right language for whatever you’re building.
- Ease of use
PHP is one of the more accessible programming languages. So, it can be easier and faster for developers to learn and implement than other languages. In addition to making it easier to complete a project, an easy programming language can speed up the project timeline.
PHP is relatively efficient as a programming language, especially when it’s compared to other programming languages like JSP and ASP. This can be a significant benefit for businesses – the faster a website is live, the quicker it can attract new customers and start raking in cash.
- Flexibility and accessibility
There are several reasons to prefer working with open-source software. For one thing, it’s cheap (i.e., free). In addition, open-source software is flexible and easily accessible.
Ok, so all those benefits seem like great reasons to choose PHP as a programming language for developing a website. So, why might programmers decide to use a different language instead? Here are some of its drawbacks.
- Not great for more extensive projects
PHP works great for most web and mobile applications. However, it is not the most high-tech of languages. As such, it is not quite ready for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities. So, if you want your website uses the latest, cutting-edge AI technology, PHP probably shouldn’t be your go-to programming language.
- Not ideal for non-programmers
Anyone who has already learned another programing language, likely won’t have any issues learning PHP. However, if you have never written code, you’ll have a bit of a learning curve mastering PHP. So, while it’s easy to learn for programmers, it’s not the most accessible language for non-programmers.
- Not the most secure
One of PHP’s strengths (being open-source) is also one of its greatest weaknesses. That’s because open-source languages and programs are historically less secure than those that are not open-source. As a result, everyone who can access PHP can see the code you create (and the inevitable bugs within it).
What is Python?
Python is another programming language. It was designed to be easy and fun (python comes from “Monty Python,” the British comedy phenomenon).
What sets Python apart from other coding languages is its simplicity. It’s designed to be highly accessible to everyone, from non-programmers and beginners to experienced programmers. In addition, it’s considered a general-purpose language, which means it can be used for various purposes.
Pros and Cons of Python
Why would you want to use Python? Let’s discuss some of the benefits and disadvantages of Python.
Here are some reasons programmers at some of the world’s biggest companies, like Netflix, Spotify, and Pixar, swear by Python as their coding language of choice over PHP.
- Insanely easy to learn
Learning PHP is like learning a second romance language – once you know some Latin, you can pick up Italian or Spanish with relative ease. In contrast, learning Python is like learning a new way of communicating the language you already know.
Unlike other coding languages that look like, well, a whole new language, Python looks like English. This familiarity makes it easy for new programmers or non-programmers to learn Python coding.
- Fast development speed
Python isn’t meant to be used from the ground up. Instead, it’s designed so programmers can restructure pieces of existing code to create their intended software. This should lead to an accelerated development speed. And with greater speed comes the opportunity for websites to go live faster. For many companies, that means an opportunity to bring in revenue sooner.
- Accessible and flexible (like PHP)
Like PHP, Python is open-source. As a refresher, that means Python is not owned by a larger corporation. Instead, it is free and available for anyone, including programmers, to access and modify without needing to go through a company.
Python’s not always the best option for development projects. Here are a few reasons some programmers pass on Python in favor of other languages.
- Error prone
Once again, a language’s strength is also its weakness. Unfortunately, Python’s dynamism makes it easy to make mistakes. And those mistakes could end up eating up a ton of time late in the development process.
- Takes up a lot of memory
Python takes up tons of memory. Is this always a problem? No. But using up a lot of memory can be prohibitive for programmers who are developing applications that require memory optimization, such as mobile applications.
- Not great for mobile
Because of the above two disadvantages, Python is not typically the go-to programming language for mobile development. It can become too cumbersome and memory-heavy to add value to a mobile application compared with other programming languages.
Ready to Build a Mobile or Website Application? Let’s Talk!
If you want to build a mobile or website application, you don’t need to learn programming languages alone. Instead, you can work with experienced programmers and developers to make your idea a reality.
Find & hire the best and certified PHP developers and programmers for your project!
If you’re unsure which language is the best choice for your project, Confianz can help. Confianz Global is a Charlotte, North Carolina headquartered software solutions company providing Custom PHP Development Services. We also have proven expertise in Custom Python Apps development. We partner with businesses to help you succeed.
We’d love to learn about your next project. Get in touch with us to get started!