Is Java or Python Better? A Comprehensive Comparison of Java and Python
Is Java or Python better? Java is faster and offers more popular options whereas Python is more versatile, easier to read, and has a simpler syntax.
A programming language is vital to designing a software program; however, choosing a suitable one among various programming languages is often a difficult task. As software developers, you probably have faced such dilemmas. In many of our guides, we have named Java and Python as the top programming languages for software development. In fact, Java and Python both have been at war for the first position for a long time. A single question that might frequently be asked is: “Is Java or Python better?”.
Both Python and Java have been constantly improved to provide the best solutions for developers, yet certain microscopic features differentiate them. Choosing between the two is obviously difficult; however, to help you decide between Java or Python, this article will make a comprehensive comparison of their applications and features.
1. Overview of Java and Python
Python is an interpreted, high-level, general-purpose, object-oriented programming language that was developed by Guido van Rossum in 1991. Python was developed with a primary objective to improve code readability and flexibility. With immense libraries ranging from as simple as a chart, or progress bar to complicated machine learning such as TensorFlow and PyTorch, developers can get started very quickly rather than starting from scratch.
Python is great for both new developers and experts alike to get ideas down fast and share code with others. Python is one of the easiest languages to learn and use even for new developers thanks to its syntax orientation which allows developers to express concepts in fewer lines of code. Due to its simplicity, Python has a big community that’s constantly coming up with new solutions to problems. Python has unique data processing libraries with Pandas and Dask, and excellent data visualization capabilities for the development of desktop applications, web apps, servers, and more.
Java is a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language that utilizes classes that were developed by Sun Microsystems in 1995 as a part of Sun Microsystem’s Java Platform. Java is a statically typed and compiled language whereas Python is a dynamically typed and interpreted language which allows developers to optimize web page experiences by transforming simple text pages into pages with video and animation. Java also has a strong community for support and many libraries built on top of it, making it easy to find code already written for a specific purpose. Java Virtual Machine (JVM) helps Java interpret compiled code and detect errors and can run on any system. This server-side language is great for web development and asynchronous programming.
2. Applications of Python and Java
There are over 3 billion devices of different platforms – Windows, Unix or Linux, Macintosh, Mac OS, Android, etc. use Java for the development of software and applications. In addition to that, Java has its footprint in many enterprises’ custom-made solutions and embedded systems ranging from banks & insurance companies to retailers and manufacturers. It is not hard for you to find one popular application or software that uses Java. The real-world applications of Java include Spotify, Twitter, Opera Mini, Minecraft, Visibletesla, etc.
Python has been widely applied in Machine learning, data science, and artificial intelligence innovation due to the ease in building a plethora of applications, web development processes, and a lot more. Some real-world applications of Python include Quora, Netflix, Dropbox, and many game applications – Battlefield 2, PyOpenGL, Kivy, Panda3D, Cocos2D…
3. Comparison Criteria – Is Java or Python Better?
Java and Python share some similarities and differences that trouble us to select one over another. Both Python and Java can be used in API interactions and for machine learning. While Java is faster at runtime and easier to debug, Python is easier to use and read. But is Java or Python better? Let’s make a more comprehensive comparison with specific criteria.
Java is a statically typed programming language, the JVM speeds up the execution of code by converting bytecode to native machine code more quickly. Whereas Python accelerated code execution through tools such as Jython (compiles the python code into Java bytecode), and Cython (compiles the python code into C and C++). With virtual machines that compile the bytecode, it seems that Java and Python have similar performance. However, Java is characterized by static-typing syntax which makes the compilation a lot easier, faster and has fewer errors than dynamic-typed syntax.
b. Code Readability
It is said that Python improves code concisely and avoids additional code that makes the application maintenance easier; while Java comes with extra features in the new version that make the development easy by structuring the software applications with modules. However, it is a time-consuming process; so Python is preferred for code readability.
c. Standard Library
Python provides a very large comprehensive standard library of approximately 130000 libraries, containing text processing, image processing, web and testing frameworks, etc. for different purposes. In comparison, Java provides fewer library options.
d. Machine Learning
Python is syntactically very easy; as a result, both new developers and experienced ones found it a comfortable choice to experiment with machine learning in their respective fields. With a vast library and resources that can be accessed free and developed further, Python initiated the adaptation of machine learning by many organizations. Java is characterized as easy debugging and usage, also the option for many large-scale operations and enterprise-level programs.
e. Game Development Engines
Beside C++/C# – the leader in PC Game development, Python is an alternative option for game development. While Java is less popular in PC games, it is more popular in mobile games as the official language of Android phones. In general, it is hard to say which one is more popular.
4. Final thoughts
Both Java and Python are powerful and flexible programming languages with active users around the globe. Despite being developed since the late 1990s, they can be used to write programs for any purpose, from games to web applications, scientific simulations, and more. If you are a new developer, Python may be a good choice; however, you could not neglect Java when developing apps for Android phones. Given the comprehensive analysis above, the future of Python is very bright.
Yet, the choice of the language still depends upon the type of application a programmer wants to create. Java and Python both have their strengths and weaknesses, so it really depends on how you want to use them, carefully analyze your objectives and requirements to select a suitable language, and go ahead with that language.
In case you can not decide, Newwave Solutions is always at your service. Just drop us a line here!
To Quang Duy is the CEO of Newwave Solutions, a leading Vietnamese software company. He is recognized as a standout technology consultant. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.