Java and Python are excellent and prevalent programming languages. Despite their differences, they both stand out for their powerful cross-platform support as well as for their extensive libraries. Also, Java and Python are two of the most popular programming languages in the market right now because of their capabilities such as versatility, efficiency, and automation. However, they do excel in several applications.
Before choosing which programming language is better (if there is, in fact, a better one), it is first necessary to assess their essential differences. Therefore, this piece will compare both languages (Java vs. Python) based on their popularity, syntax, applications, stability, speed, and overall performance.
After reading this article, you will certainly have no doubts about Java vs. Python, and you'll be able to grasp everything you need to know about these programming languages. So, let's begin with the basics.
What is Java?
The Java programming language was originally developed by Sun Microsystems in the early 1990s. Although it was primarily used for Internet-based applications, Java is now a high-level, class-based, general-purpose programming language.
Java was initially designed for embedded network applications running on multiple platforms but soon became a powerful, portable, object-oriented, interpreted programming language. Furthermore, the language is considered to be very simple; however, it comes with a library of classes that offer commonly used utility functions that most Java programs cannot work without. So, Java is well suited for standalone and web application development, and it is designed to provide solutions to most of the problems users face in the Internet era.
Java is compiled to bytecode, which can run on any JVM (Java Virtual Machine). Therefore, this language is platform-independent since it does not need to be compiled into a specific platform. It is a general-purpose programming language intended to let programmers write once, run anywhere, meaning that compiled Java code can run on all platforms that support Java without the need for recompilation. So, Java programs are platform-independent, which means they can be run on any operating system with any processor as long as the Java interpreter is available on that system.
The syntax of Java is essentially influenced by C++ and C. Unlike C++, which combines the syntax for structured, generic, and object-oriented programming, Java was built almost exclusively as an object-oriented language. All code is written inside classes. Every data item is an object, except the primitive data types (i.e., integers, floating-point numbers, boolean values, and characters), which are not objects for performance reasons. Java uses some popular aspects of C++, such as the printf() method.
Unlike C++, Java does not support operator overloading or multiple inheritances for classes, though multiple inheritances is supported for interfaces.
Comments of Java and C++ code are identical. Comments can be used to explain Java code and to make it more readable. Comments can also be used to prevent execution when testing alternative code.
There are three different styles of comments: a single line style marked with two slashes (//), a multiple line style opened with /* and closed with */, and the Javadoc commenting style opened with /** and closed with */. The Javadoc style of commenting allows the user to run the Javadoc executable to create documentation for the program and can be read by some integrated development environments (IDEs) such as Eclipse to allow developers to access documentation within the IDE.
Java is easy to write and easy to run—this is the foundational strength of Java and why many developers program in it. When you write Java once, you can run it almost anywhere at any time.
Java can be used to create complete applications that can run on a single computer or be distributed across servers and clients in a network. As a result, you can use it to quickly build mobile applications or run on desktop applications that use different operating systems and servers, such as Linux or Windows.
So, Java is designed to enable the development of portable, high-performance applications for the broadest range of computing platforms possible, allowing the fundamental tenets of overarching accessibility and cross-platform interaction. But what about Python?
What is Python?
Python has become one of the most popular programming languages in the world in recent years. It's used everywhere—from machine learning to building websites and software testing. It can be used by developers and non-developers alike. Python was created by Guido van Rossum and released in 1991.
Python is a general-purpose language, meaning it can be used to create a variety of different programs and isn't specialized for any specific problems. This versatility, along with its beginner-friendliness, has made it one of the most-used programming languages today. Simply put, Python is a widely-used, object-oriented, and high-level programming language with dynamic semantics used for general-purpose programming.
Most importantly, Python is an interpreted language, which means that the written code is not translated to a computer-readable format at runtime. Whereas most programming languages do this conversion before the program is even run. This type of language is also referred to as a scripting language because it was initially meant to be used for trivial projects.
The Python syntax defines a large set of rules that are used to create sentences in Python programming. Python syntax is English-like, making it much easier to write, read, and understand a python script than a similar script written in other programming languages such as C or Java.
In other words, Python is meant to be an easily readable language. Its formatting is visually uncluttered, and Python often uses English keywords where other programming languages use punctuation. Unlike many other programming languages, it does not use curly brackets to delimit blocks and semicolons after statements are allowed. It has fewer syntactic exceptions and special cases than C or Java.
Python utilizes two ways to annotate Python code. One is by using Python comments to indicate what some part of the code does. Single-line comments begin with the hash character (#) and continue until the end of the line. Comments spanning more than one line are achieved by inserting a multi-line string that is not used in assignment or otherwise evaluated but sits in between other statements. The second is by using Python docstrings, which are the string literals that appear right after the definition of a function, method, class, or module.
Python has constantly been improving—it has become more popular than Java, according to surveys. Even though both languages do their jobs well, certain microscopic features differentiate them. For instance, Python is excellent for experimentation, and Java may be better for production code. So, what are the differences between Java and Python? Which of these programming languages wins the Java vs. Python clash?
Java vs Python: What's The Difference?
Java and Python have similarities, as they both adopt the "everything is an object" design, have great cross-platform support, and use immutable strings and deep standard libraries. However, they have specific differences that steer some developers towards Java and others towards Python.
Here's how the two languages are different and how to decide which one better fits your goals.
Java vs Python: Language
As previously mentioned, Python is an interpreted language, meaning it can instantly convert human-readable code into machine-readable code, making it easier to debug and review.
On the other hand, Java is a compiled language. Compiled languages translate source code into machine code before running it.
Java has a lot of rules because it is meant for a team of people to work on a problem by breaking it into smaller digestible parts, where Python has always found its way into smaller groups that are diving deep into science and data. Onboarding and quick iteration have always been important for Python developers. Java generally subscribes to the plan twice, code once philosophy.
Java vs Python: Syntax
Java follows strict syntax rules. While it is not the easiest thing for beginners, some developers find comfort with the clarity of statically typed languages. Many developers do not feel comfortable following indentation rules, especially with large codebases.
Python, on the other hand, is a dynamically typed language. So, when a developer writes Python, he/she does not need to determine variable types. The interpreter will infer these types, and the checks will be made at runtime, which results in an easier syntax similar to the English language. Moreover, Python does not use enclosing braces and follows indentation rules, making the code relatively easy to read and friendly for beginners.
Java vs Python: Performance
Both Java and Python compile to bytecode and run in virtual machines. This isolates code from differences between operating systems, making the languages cross-platform. But there's a critical difference. Python usually compiles code at runtime, while Java compiles it in advance and distributes the bytecode.
In terms of speed, Java is faster than Python as it is a compiled language. It takes less time to execute a code.
Python, on the other hand, is an interpreted language, and it determines the type of data at run time, which makes it slower comparatively.
The difference in performance between Java and Python is sometimes significant in some cases. A simple binary tree test runs ten times faster in Java than in Python.
Java vs Python: Practical Agility
Python and Java are both object-oriented languages, but Java uses static types, while Python is dynamic. This is the most significant difference and affects how you design, write and troubleshoot programs in a fundamental way. Let's look at two code examples.
Java enjoys more undeviating refactoring support than Python thanks to its static type system and universality of IDE's in development. It is more popular for mobile and web applications.
Python has always existed in the talent space and is considered the most favorable language for Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, and a lot more.
Java vs Python: Which One is Better to Learn and How?
First of all, remember, all programming languages are essentially the same, and all languages can more or less do the same thing in some way or the other. Choosing a language isn't about it being easy or hard. Choosing the correct language is about how you see coding as a whole. If you're happy coding, you'll see it positively and won't be afraid to try new things!
Coming to Java and Python, the difference between the two couldn't be more visible. Most people who are starting out with code get impressed seeing Python code for the first time, and for obvious reasons. The good news is that you cannot go wrong with either language. Both are highly popular, functional languages that will set you up for a vast number of roles in various industries.
Both programming languages are suitable for many people and have large communities behind them. Learning one does not mean you cannot learn the other—many programmers venture into multiple languages. And learning multiple languages can reinforce the understanding of programming languages altogether.
By many measures, Python is the simpler one to learn, and migrating to Java afterward is possible. However, When you are choosing a programming language to learn, you have to prioritize the parameters that are most important to you. If you are learning the ropes of programming, Python is a more suitable option, but if you are a fully-fledged developer ready to start a big project, Java could be a great new skill for you to acquire.
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Java vs Python
Have you been thinking about Java vs. Python lately? Are you wondering which programming language to choose for your next project? No worries, we got you covered.