JavaScript vs Python – What are the differences?

One of the critical considerations you must make is around the coding language you want to use. Your choice could influence everything from how you build a website or app to its usability. Whether you are building your new platform to work as an in-house application for your teams, or you will roll it out to customers, you must get it right.

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Developing a new web platform or app for your business is not as simple as just saying “we are going to build an app.”

One of the critical considerations you must make is around the coding language you want to use. Your choice could influence everything from how you build a website or app to its usability. Whether you are building your new platform to work as an in-house application for your teams, or you will roll it out to customers, you must get it right.

JavaScript vs Python

JavaScript and Python are two of the most used and popular coding languages in use today. W3Techs maintains a real-time database of how many websites use JavaScript. As of 18th August 2020, W3Techs reports nearly 97% of all sites use JavaScript as a front-end programming language.

In contrast, W3Techs data shows “only” 1.4% of websites use Python. However, when you consider there are at least 1.6 billion websites in existence, that’s still a substantial number. The popularity and usage of Python continues to grow steadily, too.

We’ll explore the reason for the vast disparity in numbers as we go through this guide.

What is JavaScript?

Your company can use JavaScript to build websites, standalone web pages, and web applications. It was previously the case that JavaScript would only run in a browser, but it can now run server-side and on mobile devices, too.

However, the most common use for JavaScript remains in the front-end, or “client-side,” meaning this what your customers and website visitors see. Your developers can use JavaScript alongside HTML to create interactive features, graphics, widgets, and a variety of other elements for your website.

While experienced developers will know how to write and deploy JavaScript, it is easy to learn. Do you want to instil basic web development skills into your marketing teams, or anyone else in your business who works on your website? If so, JavaScript can be an excellent starting point, alongside HTML.

What is Python?

Python is a highly versatile language. For example, if developers create a Python application on a Mac platform, it will also run on Linux and Windows platforms, and vice versa. Such cross-compatibility can save your developers a substantial amount of time if you are looking to roll out a new program or application to your teams or customers.

The most common use for Python is to create web and mobile applications. However, you can also use Python to:

  • Create bespoke desktop software or even full operating systems.
  • Create APIs for software integrations.
  • Develop data analytics software and dashboards.
  • Develop machine learning algorithms and systems.
  • Develop games, either as a consumer product or to gamify some of your operations and in-house metrics.

Python is also easy to learn, and depending on your business' objectives is also a language you might encourage your teams to become familiar with.

How are JavaScript and Python similar?

One of the primary reasons both JavaScript and Python are easy to learn is they are both dynamic languages.

Here are some other similarities between JavaScript and Python:

  • Both are object-orientated languages, meaning you write software and applications around objects and data, rather than functions and logic. This factor also contributes to the ease of learning both languages.
  • They are both ideal to use in large and complex software development projects.
  • Both see extensive use across a variety of web development projects.

Due to the versatility of both languages, it is common for developers to know both if they are looking to develop a "full-stack" portfolio. As such, it should be straightforward for your business to use both languages as and when you need to.

How are JavaScript and Python different?

There are three significant differences between JavaScript and Python.

The first is the range of applications you can create with Python. While you can now use JavaScript outside of a browser, it still lacks the versatility to create the variety of apps that you can with Python. Another benefit of building games, mobile apps, or data analysis platforms with Python is you can do it 100% with Python. You do not need to integrate Python with another language to achieve your aims.

This point brings us to our second difference, which is that you will typically use Python alone most of the time. In contrast, when using JavaScript in web development, you will deploy it alongside another language like HTML or CSS.

Our final difference explains the disparity in percentages we saw earlier from the W3Techs data. Developers usually deploy JavaScript and Python at opposite ends of the web development cycle. While developers use JavaScript to develop what website visitors see, they use Python more for back-end coding.

In summary: Is JavaScript or Python better?

To answer this question, you first need to finalise the scope of a specific development project.

Both JavaScript and Python are excellent languages to deploy and to get your teams familiar with, so where and when you use them will dictate whether you do so successfully.

JavaScript is a web development language. Therefore, if you want to redevelop your website or add new features for your users, JavaScript would be the better choice.

In contrast, if you want to create a software platform, either for in-house use or customers, or develop data analytics, machine learning programs, or games, Python would be the language to use.

Depending on your business goals, how you develop your website, and the features and applications you use in your back-end, you will probably find you have a use for both JavaScript and Python.


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