PHP vs. Python: Which Technology Is the Right Pick for Your Web Project?

Oleksii Zymovets

Oleksii Zymovets

PHP Developer at Andersen

Outsourced IT Services
Aug 31, 2022
Lesedauer: 5 Min.
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No matter whether you need a high-load web app or a small-scale custom web service for a narrow user segment, an unsuitable technology stack will dramatically affect your solution’s time to market and its cost. Sometimes, it can even influence the success and general perspective of the project as it will surely create dramatic bottlenecks at some points. Therefore, adopting the right technology stack at the early stages of the project based on its requirements is imperative. When it comes to Back-end web development, both Python and PHP development services are highly satisfactory options. Andersen’s experts will explain their features and use cases so that you can make the best choice.

Brief description of PHP

PHP is an open-source scripting language. It’s especially suitable for web development. Since its emergence in the mid-90s, it has gained an extensive community that is continually contributing to its persistent development. The language includes such frameworks as Symfony, Slim, Zend, Laravel, CodeIgniter, Phalcon, Yii, and others. These provide an excellent opportunity to deliver high-quality PHP services in a timely manner.

The technology is mostly applied as a server-side scripting language but is also very popular for writing command line scripts and performing automation. Renowned projects where it’s employed are Facebook, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, WordPress, MailChimp, and Flickr. Statistically, every second web service uses this language.

The technology’s main features include:

Simplicity The language is easy to master as it’s well-structured, thoroughly documented, and has built-in functions.

Flexibility PHP runs on any modern device and supports most currently used databases. It can be seamlessly embedded into HTML, XML, or JavaScript. Moreover, it’s compatible with most modern web servers, such as NGINX, IIS, etc. It’s also worth mentioning that PHP is cross-platform which allows it to run on both Unix and Windows systems.

Popularity The technology boasts a large community and is regularly upgraded. The improvements include new features, performance improvements, security fixes, and other amendments. Various extensions are also supported, which provides for additional opportunities in custom PHP development.

Open-source technology This feature adds to the transparency of the language and allows anybody to have access to the code and understand its principles of work.

Multi-paradigm nature Though PHP is a functional language, historically, it has added many object-oriented features. Thus, it can be either one way or another depending on the usage context.

High performance PHP scripts are faster than other scripting languages. PHP apps run exceptionally fast thanks to performance optimization gained by recompiling and caching enhancements. These were added and significantly improved in the latest versions of PHP that employ the JIT compiler and OPcache engine.

Interpreted language Interpreters run the program code line by line and with no compilation involved. This means that their performance speed is lower than that of compiled languages, although one needs to admit that in modern development this is not an issue anymore.

Loosely typed language Although it’s strongly recommended to use strict variable types to prevent subtle bugs related to typecasting, this optional feature is off by default in PHP.

Brief description of Python

This interpreted object-oriented high-level programming language is easy to master and debug. Its first version was released in the early 90s. Since that time, the technology has developed a rich ecosystem of libraries and frameworks. The latter includes aiohttp, Bottle, CherryPy, Django, Dash, etc. The technology is most commonly used in data analysis and Machine Learning, as well as for automation and scripting in web development. Compared to PHP, it’s used far less frequently in Back-end projects.

The technology’s main features include:

Simplicity One can comprehend the basics of the language in a few hours and mastering its core modules would normally take only a few days.

Good readability The syntax of the language is arranged in such a way that it resembles English, which adds to the good readability of its code.

Open-source technology The technology is absolutely free to use and distribute, including for commercial purposes. This adds to its popularity and how widespread it is.

Portability Code written in Python runs on the majority of operating systems with no need to amend it.

Interpreted language The code is interpreted line by line without compilation. This means that the performance of Python-based solutions is somewhat lower than that of apps written in compiled languages. Therefore, the technology is not the best option for high-load web apps.

Multi-paradigm nature One of the key features of the language is that it supports both object-oriented and procedure-oriented programming.

Extensibility The code can be embedded in a solution built in C++ which adds to its extensibility. In general, this feature means that one can include new capabilities in the software by making only small changes in the code.

GUI support Python includes GUI tools and, therefore, allows for building visually-rich desktop apps.

Dynamically typed The type of variables is determined during the runtime, which can cause difficulties related to incorrect variable types. However, this shouldn’t be a problem for seasoned developers.

PHP vs. Python: which one should you use for your project?

First of all, determine the project type and the problems it solves. If you’re building a desktop or a web app that involves Machine Learning or data analysis, Python might be a better option. On the contrary, using it for a content management system web service or an online marketplace isn’t a sound solution as it would significantly increase the project budget and time to market. In this case, it’s more reasonable to opt for a solution that comes with ready-to-use features.

Some of Andersen’s outstanding Python solutions include this Healthcare system to resolve skin problems based on patient data, this AI-based FinTech platform to automate loan issuance, this warehouse management system with analytical features, and more.

The choice of the best suitable technology might not be obvious. In some scenarios, the most sound decision would be segmenting the app into several services and choosing the best-fitting technology for each of them.

It’s also worth mentioning that PHP web application development is much more common than that involving Python. Therefore, in the latter case, it might be harder to find experienced specialists.

Andersen’s successful PHP projects include this FitTech platform for storing and comparing the data and rates of utility companies, this fleet management app capable of handling large-scale data, this web platform for seamless document management and printing, etc.

As for long-term perspectives, both technologies have a long history and well-developed communities. Both of them are very unlikely to become obsolete in the foreseeable future, therefore, web services that use them will be relevant for decades.

Conclusion

To sum up, both languages are well-suited for web projects. Each of them has its pros and cons, and their choice is individually made based on project requirements. Andersen’s skilled experts provide Python and PHP consulting services to tailor the technology stacks to our customers’ needs. Feel free to contact us for a comprehensive consultation on your web development project.

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