Oct 25, 2023
about 5 min read
Python or Java: Which is better to learn in 2023?
Python or Java: Which should you use for your projects? Find out the similarities and differences between the two in this comprehensive guide.
When it comes to programming languages, Python and Java are two of the most popular options. Both have their own unique features and benefits, making it difficult to determine which is the best fit for one’s needs. In this article, we will explore the similarities and differences between them. Also, we will provide some guidance on deciding which language—Python or Java—best suits your needs and goals.
What is Python?
This high-level programming language was created by Guido van Rossum in 1991. It is an interpreted, dynamically typed, and multi-paradigm language known for its simplicity, readability, and ease of use.
Python has gained much popularity over the years due to its simple and elegant syntax, making it easy to read and write code. It has a large and active community of developers contributing to its rich set of libraries and frameworks covering a wide range of domains, including data science, web development, machine learning, and automation. Python is the world’s most widely used programming language in 2023 with its vast ecosystem and user-friendly approach.
What is Java?
Java is a high-level, compiled, statically typed, and class-based object-oriented programming language. It was created by James Gosling and his team at Sun Microsystems in 1995.
Java is known for its portability, robustness, security, and efficiency. One of its key features is that it runs on a virtual machine called the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), which allows Java code to run on any JVM platform installed. This makes Java an excellent choice for developing cross-platform applications.
Another advantage of Java is its vast and mature library and framework ecosystem. The Java Standard Library provides a range of classes and methods for common programming tasks like string manipulation, file I/O, and network communication.
In addition, you can use numerous third-party libraries and frameworks to build complex and scalable applications for various domains such as enterprise, web, mobile, embedded, and cloud computing.
Similarities and Differences Between Python & Java
To decide whether you should choose Python or Java, you need to know about the similarities and differences in syntax, features, performance, libraries, frameworks, and use cases.
Python has a concise and expressive syntax that uses indentation to define code blocks. It does not require semicolons or curly braces to end statements or delimit code blocks. Python also supports multiple assignments, unpacking, list comprehension, generator expression, lambda function, and ternary operator.
In contrast, Java has a verbose and rigid syntax that uses semicolons to end statements and curly braces to delimit code blocks. It does not support multiple assignments, unpacking, list comprehension, and generator expression.
Python is an interpreted language that executes code line by line at runtime. It is dynamically typed, which means that variables do not have fixed types and can change during execution. Python also supports:
- multiple inheritance
- duck typing (an object’s behavior determines its type)
- metaprogramming (code that manipulates code)
- introspection (code that examines code)
On the other hand, Java is a compiled language that converts code into bytecode before execution. It is statically typed, meaning variables have fixed types and must be declared before use. Java also supports:
- single inheritance (a class can only inherit from one superclass)
- interface (a contract that defines the behavior of a class)
- generics (a way to parameterize types)
- reflection (code that examines code)
Python is an interpreted and dynamically typed language. Therefore, it is generally slower than Java, which is compiled and statically typed. Python’s global interpreter lock (GIL) also prevents multiple threads from executing Python code concurrently.
However, it can overcome these limitations by using external libraries such as NumPy and Cython, which leverage native code or C extensions to speed up computation. You can also use multiprocessing or asyncio modules for Python to achieve concurrency or parallelism.
Java is faster than Python because its just-in-time (JIT) compiler optimizes bytecode at runtime. However, Java’s garbage collection mechanism can cause memory management issues as it periodically frees up unused memory. It can also use threads or futures modules to achieve concurrency or parallelism.
Libraries & Frameworks
Python has a rich set of libraries and frameworks that cover various domains, including data science, web development, machine learning, and automation. Some popular Python libraries and frameworks are NumPy, pandas, matplotlib, scikit-learn, TensorFlow, Django, Flask, and Selenium.
On the contrary, Java has a vast and mature library and framework ecosystem that enables you to build scalable and reliable applications for various domains like enterprise, web, mobile, embedded, and cloud computing. Some popular Java libraries and frameworks include Spring Boot, Hibernate, Apache Spark, Android SDK, and JavaFX.
Python is widely used for data science, web development, machine learning, automation, and scripting. It is also suitable for prototyping, rapid development, and educational purposes. Some famous applications/websites that use Python are Google, YouTube, Netflix, Instagram, and Spotify.
On the other hand, Java is widely used for enterprise, web, mobile, embedded, and cloud computing. It is also suitable for high-performance, distributed, and multi-threaded applications. Some famous applications/websites that use Java are Amazon, eBay, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Uber.
Both Python and Java have large and active communities of developers. They contribute to the languages’ development, documentation, testing, and support. Both also have many online resources available to help learners of all levels. For Python, some popular resources include Python.org, LearnPython.com, Real Python, Python Tutor, Stack Overflow, and r/Python.
Similarly, Java has a mature community of developers who have been using and improving the language for decades. Online platforms such as JavaTpoint, Baeldung, CodeGym, Stack Overflow, and r/Java are famous for learning and sharing knowledge about Java.
Python or Java: Which Languages Should You Choose?
Python or Java? There is no definitive answer to which is better than the other. Both have their own strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, choosing which to use depends on your preference, project requirements, available resources, career goals, and more. Here are some general guidelines that may help you to make an informed decision:
- Suppose you are a beginner and want to learn a programming language quickly and easily. In this case, you may prefer Python over Java. Python has a simpler and more intuitive syntax.
- You may prefer Python over Java if you are working on a data science, web development, automation, or scripting project. Python is also a better programming language for AI development. It has a rich set of libraries and frameworks that cater to these domains.
- If you are working on an enterprise, web, mobile, embedded, or cloud computing project, you may prefer Java over Python. Beside its robust and efficient performance, Java also has a vast and mature library and framework ecosystem that enables you to build scalable and reliable applications for these domains.
Python or Java: Final Thoughts
In conclusion, both have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. By understanding the similarities and differences between the two, you can decide which language—Python or Java—best fits your needs. Both are valuable tools for any developer to have in their arsenal.
We hope this article has helped you gain some insight into the similarities and differences between Python and Java and make an informed decision on which language to choose. Thank you for reading!