Python vs. PHP – A Comparison

April 2014

PHP and Python would be the hottest items on the menu if you are to choose one from available open source web programming languages in the industry. Though Python is fairly a new name in the industry as compared to PHP, both the languages are considered to be the most prevalent web programming languages on offer. Both options offer diverse features and have their own pros and cons so it is not an easy choice to pick one of them and leave the other. In this article we shall be making a few comparisons between them and will conclude results in the end.

Let us start with rules of the game i.e. rules mandatory to be followed to write a correct structured code referred to as syntax of the language. PHP's syntax and semantics are mostly alike to C, Java and Perl (Mostly C language alike), so programmers who have worked on any one of these languages can align their concepts and logic with PHP quite easily apart from a very few minor changes to the syntax which are catered with time once you start working on PHP regularly. Python is not that much easily adoptable when it comes to syntax and semantics; it requires few white space adjustments, but it is very easy to read as compared to a finalized PHP code. The final appearance of a Python code gives a pseudo code like appearance.

When it comes to versatility Python takes more marks than PHP. Though both the languages offer general purpose programming but when you are working on PHP it is a general feeling of a programmer that it is made only for web programming (no doubt it is one the best available web programming engines). But may be PHP founders might have had more focus on making it a web programming specialized engine with a little bit less emphasis on general purpose programming. Python on the other hand is a simple framework that offers equal weightage for both web based programming and general purpose programming.

As a programmer when you have finalized the logic of required outcome in your mind the next stage is translating and converting that logic to actual functional code that is in compliance with the syntax and semantics of the programming engine. At that stage or while changing something to include or exclude functionality it is prone to bugs and errors in the application and scripts. These can be minimized but cannot be perfectly eliminated. For that purpose you require debugging tools with core purpose of saving time and effort while working on web based programming language. Debugging tools of Python are easily available within the download suite and they fulfill the debugging requirements satisfactorily. PHP on the other hand have several debugging tools. Commonly used debuggers are Kint, DebugBar, PHPMD (Mess Detector), Krumo and many more.

Lambda functions in Python are very easy to use and understand and you must prefer usage of lambda functions in Python over PHP considering their flow within the programming engine. PHP on the contrary is not that easily adaptable for programmers when it comes to usage of lambda functions.

Though PHP has huge fame amongst the available open source programming languages and with its increased use in the market, demand of PHP developers has also increased. Python programmers are a bit rare at this moment of time because of its less usage and due to the market captured by PHP, young developers focus on moving towards PHP rather than Python. This scenario of PHP’s dominance over Python in current age can be considered as blessing in disguise for Python developers reason being that if a programming engine is rare it’s developers are in high demand.

Though Python has as good features as PHP, but considering its easy understandability in coding process it can be titled as a worthy platform for novices and then again you have the opportunity to become an eminent Python programmer with time and experience.

Conclusively, if you are to make a choice among PHP and Python you should make that choice on the basis of what you actually require and your skill set and versatility of resources.