Python vs JavaScript for Web Development: What fits your app

December 08, 2022 • 374 Views • 13 min read

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Tetiana Stoyko

CTO & Co-Founder

The rise of technologies, especially when we talk about the web sector, is hard to overestimate. Therefore, the comparison of various technologies, and choosing the best tech stack for the web application development cycle is gaining more popularity. Moreover, this industry has brought a new way of using traditional technologies, whether these are programming languages, libraries, frameworks, or other examples of utilities, some of which were originally designed not specifically for this sector.

For instance, one of the most common comparisons is Python vs JavaScript for web development. Let's put everything on the shelves.

Why Choose Between Them?

Today, both Python and JavaScript are among the most popular programming languages for the development of programs. Each of them has a wide range of usage purposes. Also, they are not new to the public, meaning that there are countless variations of modifications and extensions, build on top of these two languages.

Python Explained

Python scripting language is one of the examples of traditional technologies, that managed to adjust to new realities. Yet, it is worth admitting, that it was created as a general-purpose language or GPL. This means, that it has no actual prior usage purposes. Instead, the main principle of GPLs is to be flexible and adjusted for various development use cases. So, it is hard to tell exactly when to use python and when not to.

Its success is easy to explain. Apart from its flexible nature, it is probably one of the most user-friendly programming languages. Python is regularly proposed to newcomers because it can be easily learned and helps to better understand the overall code logic of some other alternatives. Yet, it is not the final list of Python’s advantages.

For instance, it is beloved by skilled python developers as well. In fact, it has one of the biggest communities, which managed to produce numerous multi-purpose libraries. Eventually, it is platform-free, i.e. is not limited when it comes to OS, and also is highly compatible with other programming technologies. In other words, you can create apps in python for most modern platforms, except for mobile development.

However, the list of drawbacks is as long. Still, the most crucial ones are:

  • slower working processes speed,
  • issues with the environment,
  • high memory consumption,
  • garbage collection,
  • multithreading capabilities.

Frankly speaking, it takes more time to proceed with the task due to the basic architecture and its demands. It is the reason for memory consumption as well. Moreover, memory consumption can be caused by built-in garbage collection. Most modern competitors fixed these issues and are capable to provide developers with better performance results.

Likewise, despite its compatibility with other programming languages, developing apps in Python requires additional presets and correct settings of the working environment. Finally, the multithreading option differs from the competitors. To be clear, there is no such thing as a multithreading model with threads, which can be run at the same time.

Nonetheless, most of the foregoing disadvantages can be easily fixed with the use of the detailed Python guide or its substitutes like Jython(in the case of multithreading).

Summing up all the above, Python is a great solution both for newcomers and experienced Python developers, which provides them with countless variations and possible use cases. In fact, it is very hard to tell exactly when to use python. It won’t be a lie to tell, that its usage is mostly limited by the imagination of Python developers.

Still, it can be difficult to use it in some specific cases like the ones, when multithreading is required, memory capabilities are limited, and high performance is a key feature demanded. Due to its GPL nature, it can become a great addition to your web development project as well.

Briefly About JavaScript

Contrary to Python, JavaScript usage can be specified. We are not saying, that it is impossible to use JavaScript elsewhere except for web development. Still, javascript development teams are incredibly popular in web development.

Frankly speaking, the number of various software solutions based on JavaScript is impressive. For instance, most widespread libraries and frameworks, created for web development, are mainly based on this popular language. We are talking about React, Next.js, Nest.js, NodeJS, jQuery, and many others. Actually, according to some sources, we can assume that most beloved web development frameworks are somehow related to JavaScript. But what is the reason for such popularity?

Actually, there are at least a few of them. First of all, JS is also an easy-to-learn programming language. This, paired with overall utility and unlimited use case scenarios, helped to rapidly increase the number of javascript development teams. As a result, they started producing their own products, based on JS, highly expanding functionality and technology’s ease of use.

However, one of the most crucial aspects, which is highly important for any project, is the ability to support UI elements. JavaScript usage is probably one of the most popular choices in this field. In fact, it supports numerous very useful user interface elements, which boosted the overall quality and convenience of the web industry for the end-user.

We also need to understand, that JavaScript appeared almost at the same time as Python. It was exactly the time, when web development, as well as the industry itself, was just starting to grow. Therefore, powerful programming language, which was partly designed specifically for such purposes was in great demand. Summing up all the foregoing facts, we can easily understand how javascript development teams become so popular and still are in great demand.

Previously, JS suffered from a lack of browser support. In fact, the issue lay down in the wrong or changed code interpretation by browsers. For now, the problem is partly solved, so if you are targeting the main browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, and Mozilla - you won’t meet the issue.

Thanks to the popularity and widespread usage of JavaScript, market leaders changed their algorithms, adjusting them for correct JS reading. Yet, in less famous browsers, or very specific ones, the issue may still be met. The issue, that is still true, though, is the security troubles. JS supports both client- and server-side rendering. The first one is under threat of malicious attacks. There are also some minor drawbacks as well.

Nonetheless, JavaScript is a great solution for web development process, which managed to prove its effectiveness and become one of the most important programming languages for web development.

Python vs JavaScript Comparison

As for now, it seems we have a clear winner when comparing python vs javascript for web development. Yet, do not rush to the conclusion. Instead, we propose to consider some use cases and make the final choice more balanced.

Python Use Cases

What we didn’t say about this programming language, is that it has some important advantages over the competitor. Especially, when it comes to computing capabilities. Actually, when we compare Python vs JavaScipt, we have to admit, that both are relatively the same in many aspects.

Nevertheless, we can easily divide them into the fields of most productivity. As for Python use cases, thanks to its great computing possibilities, as well as overall programming language design, it is a real beast in various industries like scientific computing, machine learning, artificial intelligence, or any other, which requires scalable data analysis and calculation.

For instance, among alternative python use cases, there are social networks like Instagram. It is also used by such giants as Google and Netflix. Eventually, developing apps in Python is a great idea for backend development. It has a lot of various features, that will come in handy in almost any case. Yet, it is not as good for the front end and user interfaces.

JavaScipt Usage

As we mentioned before, JavaScipt is one of the leaders in the web development market. Also, it can be used both for the front and backend. Yet, if JavaScipt usage for the backend can be argued due to the clear competition with Python in this field, the front is a clear win in our comparison. With the combination of great UI support, high-performance result, numerous libraries, frameworks, and other extensions, JS becomes a clear winner in this sprint.

The questionable choice between these two for the backend (NodeJS vs Python) is also worth explaining. This is when the multithreading capabilities appear. So, on the one hand, JavaScript supports multi threads, while Python doesn't. As a result, the JS-based backend can work faster and show the better result in accomplishing some goals.

For instance, when it comes to fast rendering, JS has an advantage, because can run multiple tasks at the same time, while original Python operates them one by one. Yet, some developers may say, that in most cases, it is hard to notice the difference. Moreover, Python is the ultimate choice for working with an array of data.

Conclusion

Comparing python vs javascript for web development, we have to understand, that there is no such opinion that one is better than the other. Everything depends on the context and the goals, needed to achieve. As a matter of fact, both python use cases and javascript usage opportunities show us, that it is possible to get relatively the same result by using any of them. Thus, instead of opposing these programming languages, we propose to combine them.

As we already figured out, Python can be considered a backend language, while JavaScipt is a perfect solution for the frontend, even if it can be used for the backend as well. By dividing them into different “ends”, we can ensure a truly unique development experience and an extraordinary result. To better illustrate this opinion, we propose you check some of our recent case studies, where you can find some of such combinations and examine their results by yourself.

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