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Python Vs PHP: Which should you go for in 2021

The need for backend development has been on a steady increase in the past years. Companies are seeking to go digital, build web applications, mobile applications, and the rest. But there is a myriad of programming languages that can be used to create backend projects. One of the most popular being Python and PHP. The discussion between which to choose has lingered for many years and is still a relevant conversation. 

While PHP was developed to build web applications, Python can be used for a more general purpose. In this tutorial, you will learn what differentiates Python and PHP with respect to key factors such as performance, ease of learning, community, documentation, etc. Here’s what you can expect to learn by the end of this article.

  • What is Python
  • Why choose Python
  • Features of Python
  • Why choose PHP
  • Features of PHP
  • Key features in Python and PHP
  • Comparison between Python and PHP

 Let’s jump into it.

What is Python

Python is a dynamically-typed programming language that can be used for many applications such as software testing, machine learning, web development, hacking, etc. Python has built-in data types, structures, objects and has a library that can be reused to create quick web applications. The programming language focuses on simplicity and readability. Some say python codes can be read like plain English making it a choice language for beginners. 

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Why Choose Python

  • Python is easy to learn and debug given its simple syntax 
  • Python is a lightweight language and can run on many platforms
  • Python has built-in libraries that can be used right away during development
  • Python provides a great interface to almost all key public database management systems. This means that you can easily manage your DB with the knowledge of Python
  • With Python’s interactive shell, you can carry out unit testing easily before deployment.
  • Python has a lot of frameworks such as Django and tk toolkit that supports GUI 

Features of Python

  • Python is an interpreter which means codes are run line by line
  • The learning curve of python is gentle. Suitable for complete newbies
  • Python provides the structure for large codes to be run
  • You can integrate other programming languages such as C, C++, or Java

What is PHP

PHP is an acronym for Hypertext Preprocessor. PHP is a server-based scripting language that is used to create and manage dynamic content from HTML codes. Beyond that, PHP can be used to track sessions, manage databases, and many more in web development. PHP can be used to build full websites in fact. It may interest you to do that a large chunk of WordPress, a popular website builder, was built with PHP. 

Why Choose PHP

  • PHP can run on various platforms such as macOS, Windows, Linux
  • PHP is easy to learn and it runs efficiently 
  • PHP is compatible with virtually all well-known servers
  • PHP is open-source, hence you can download it for free from their official website. 

What are the Key Difference between Python and PHP

  • Python is a dynamically typed programming language that can be used for fast web development through its libraries. PHP on the other hand is a server-side scripting language used to make HTML content dynamic. 
  • Python is a general-purpose language as it can be used in many applications such as machine learning, hacking, software testing, etc. Whereas PHP was primarily built for web development. 
  • Python syntax is clear and simple, which makes it beginner-friendly. PHP has a slightly more broad syntax and numerous naming conventions
  • You do not need any prior programming experience to learn Python. However, it is strongly advised to understand the basics of HTML and CSS before jumping into PHP. 
  • Python has a relatively small number of frameworks, whereas its PHP counterpart has many frameworks. 
  • Python’s key features would include OOP, quick development, and easy syntax. PHP’s key features would include easy development and continuous community support. 

Let now compare these two languages based on some key factors.

Comparing Between Python and PHP

Learning curvePython has a gentle learning curve. Making it good for beginners Compared to Python, PHP has a steep learning curve and may require some background knowledge of HTML
DOcumentationPython has very robust documentation on its websites and other platformsPHP as well has good documentation on its website
FrameworkPython has a relatively small number of frameworks for web developmentPHP has a lot of framework for web development
SyntaxSyntax of Python was written almost like plain EnglishSyntax of PHP is fairly advanced and may take some time to master
ApplicationPython is a general-purpose programming language with a lot of applicationPHP was primarily designed for web development
MaintenancePython applications are relatively easy to maintainPHP applications are quite more difficult to maintain
Database connectivityPython supports integration with DBMS but not as powerful as PHPWith PHP, you have access to more than 20 databases
DebuggingPython allows you to debug your program with its fantastic debugger, Python Debugger (PDB).You can as well debug on PHP using tools like XDebug 
SpeedRunning codes in Python is fasterPHP is even way faster
CommunityPython has a fast-growing communityPython has a robust community with years of experience

Final Words

With all that the two programming languages pack, it is tough to make a pick as to which one to go for. In the end, it will boil down to personal preference. 

If you are a complete neophyte to programming and you’re not sure what you want to use your coding skill for, I would recommend going for Python. In this case, you can learn Python’s framework for web development if you eventually decide to specialize in web development.

Conversely, if you wish to go into web development from the very beginning and you have some knowledge of HTML, you definitely will need to add to your HTML knowledge. And there’s no better language to learn than CSS and PHP. If you’ve got any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section and I’d do my best to answer them.

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