What are Python, PHP, and Django?
Python is a high-level, dynamically typed, interpreted language. Its characteristics are readability and brevity of the code. It was created in the 90s of the last century by Guido van Rossum. The name comes from the title of a comedy series on the BBC called “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”
PHP is a scripting language often used to create web projects (online stores, corporate websites,s and portals). PHP was created in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf and was initially called PHP/FI, or Personal Home Page/Forms Interpreter.
Django appeared in 2005 and has gradually become one of the best frameworks that have helped thousands of developers to do this or that job within a few minutes. Initially, Django was a framework for the Python language, with excellent functionality; Django has simplified several complexities in developing web applications, giving this work a more simplified approach.
General comparison between Python and PHP
Both PHP and Python are dynamically typed and object-oriented languages. They are compatible with multiple operating systems, so they are similar in some ways. However, these languages are notable for their ease of use.
Unlike Python, a general-purpose language, PHP was initially developed as a tool for creating dynamic websites and web applications. PHP development can be too complex due to its rigid syntax.
On the contrary, Python is relatively easy to understand due to its high readability. In addition, written code in Python can be easily interpreted and read, facilitating the debugging process. Because of this, it may be easier for a company to hire Python web application developers than an experienced team of PHP web application developers.
A few years ago, Python was faster than PHP, but that has changed with the release of PHP 7. The core PHP development team has done a lot to speed up the language, which is why PHP is now faster than Python and many other languages. High speed can significantly improve performance if developers must process vast amounts of data romance.
However, for creating simple and small applications, both languages are suitable. Factors such as hardware resources, code logic, memory size, data path width, and hard drive access times can also affect software performance regardless of programming language. In addition, lack of storage space and the failure of RAM or hard drives can slow down the software or lead to crashes and errors.
User information and data security are topical issues in any IT-related debate. The WhiteSource report ranks Python as one of the safest programming languages. Python has several security features that can be used to build complex applications with precise goals and functions. For example, its Django framework has built-in security features that allow developers to deal with threats effectively.
Unlike Python, many PHP applications can have security issues due to old coding practices and destructive code. Many of these issues have been resolved with the help of the PHP community. However, experienced web application developers can use both languages to create secure applications if they follow the latest security practices.
Both Python and PHP have excellent community support. PHP has been on the market since 1995, forming a vast community of developers ready to provide support.
Python was released even earlier, in 1991. Like its competitor, Python has a large community of developers who continuously develop web applications; hence, the community support is outstanding.
So given the popularity of the languages, both PHP and Python developers can be sure they can get help or valuable advice.
For the success of the companies, they need to ensure that their applications can quickly adapt to changing market and customer requirements. Both PHP and Python are great for developing web applications because they offer many libraries and frameworks. For example, PHP provides several robust web frameworks used by many big brands. Frameworks like Symfony and Laravel are prevalent among PHP developers.
Python also provides robust web application development frameworks like Flask and Django. Both frameworks are swift, secure,e and scalable.
However, Python-based solutions offer even greater scalability through the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence. For example, developers can build scalable applications with Django because the framework allows engineers to use separate and independent components. Moreover, the framework is excellent for deploying machine learning models.
Similarities between Python and PHP
Before you understand the most significant differences between these two giants, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with their main similarities.
Let’s start with the fact that PHP and Python are open-source languages. This means that you will not need to purchase a license. In addition, developers can independently change and expand existing functionality.
Both languages are “friendly” to newbies, which means that there are many courses on the market and a large community of programmers ready to answer many questions. Moreover, both languages are high-level languages, the syntax close to the human language. They are readable and more tolerant of possible errors.
Also, many beginners, and even experienced programmers, use the documentation. Depending on the state of the documentation and its maintenance, as well as constant updating, a conclusion is made about the brand of a particular programming language. In the case of PHP and Python, there are no problems here; the documentation is at a high level.
Critical Differences Between Python and PHP
Despite the many factors linking these two programming languages, there are quite a few differences, which we’ll cover below.
Appearance and syntax legibility
Python’s syntax is more readable, elegant, and a pleasure to build web products from, although the code is a little too pedantic in places).
Frameworks for web developmentFindinga more intuitive, straightforward, and feature-rich framework is more complex than Django. Of course, there are other Python frameworks (Flask, FastAPI, etc.), but Django is the most popular and battle-tested.
PHP has frameworks like Laravel, Symfony, and even CodeIgniter.
Django has a lot of built-in tools, and its speed is slightly ahead of PHP frameworks. It isn’t easy to name a winner here because the framework is chosen depending on the project’s needs.
In this matter, Python and PHP go hand in hand. PHP has a powerful debugger called XDebug, and Python has a debugger called PDB (Python Debugger). It will be hard to find a winning programming language here.
PHP was created for building websites and web portals. As for developing solutions in Machine Learning, image processing, API, etc. Python is indispensable here.
The vast majority of web design tools are free. However, there are situations when you have to pay for this or that solution. As for languages, which again are free and open source, it will be hard to find a winner in this category. Instead, the victory will depend on the specifics of your industry and the product’s functionality.
Over 80 percent of today’s websites have been built using PHP. This statistic has changed a bit over the years because the new Python has come along with an arsenal of its frameworks. Of course, this proportion will not reverse in a short time, but anything is possible over time. Python will begin to play an increasingly important role due to the greater security and flexibility of its solutions.
General comparison between Django vs. PHP
Django is a framework, and PHP is a web development language. Django helps build and maintain web applications. PHP allows you to create dynamic content to help you interact with databases.
“Many of the most heavily used sites are based on Django, such as Instagram and Pinterest. Even Facebook uses Django for many of its utilities. Django was born in a publishing environment, so it’s no surprise that this framework is used by sites like The Washington Post and Smithsonian Magazine.” — Amit Ashwini, VP Marketing @ Zibtek.
- Django reduces development time by adding extra features. The developer can create a project in no time.
- Django is a framework that can quickly scale and keep up with growing needs.
- It protects the Django website from common attacks such as cross-site request forgery, SQL injection, clickjacking, etc.
- Django supports rapid changes during development.
- Django is a machine learning-friendly framework because it provides computational and statistical capabilities.
- It comes with pre-written, ready-to-use codes that save development time.
- It is supported by various operating systems, including Linux, UNIX, Solaris, macOS, and Windows.
- PHP is easy to learn and very similar to the C programming language.
- It offers high speed, boosting user engagement and SEO ranking by loading web pages faster.
- Django is not suitable for small projects. It is a battery-included framework that needs more bandwidth and a server.
- It can only process one request at a time.
- It is also considered monolithic. This slows down the evaluation of the structure.
- The developer needs an additional interpreter program to interpret the codes in a language understandable to the computer.
- PHP’s main problem is the lack of uniformity in structural patterns, which increases the cost of hiring new human resources.
- Developers need to install third-party tools to speed up the user experience, which slows down the website.
Where to use Django
- You need to develop a web application or an API backend.
- You need to work quickly, deploy quickly, and make changes to the project.
- By default, the application should be protected from the most common vulnerabilities and attacks: CSRF, SQL injection, XSS, clickjacking, etc.
- At any time in an application, scaling may require either upscaling or downsizing.
- In the future, you plan to integrate the latest technologies, such as machine learning.
- You need to use a robust framework that is actively developed and used by many top companies and leading websites worldwide.
- Both the web application and the API back end are required to be in the same code base, consistent with the “single source of truth” (DRY principle)
- You don’t want to work directly with database queries and need ORM support.
- You are going to use free software.
- If you get stuck, you will have to find a solution, so that you will need good documentation and a responsive developer community.
Where not to use Django
- You are dealing with a colossal application that does not fit in one code base. It might be better to break your application into microservices. A dedicated team will better handle each level. Different technologies will be suitable for each specific use case. In some of these scenarios, Django may also come in handy. Still, it would not be practical to develop such an application entirely in Django (as well as in any other separate framework).
- You need to write a simple application that doesn’t require you to work with a database, perform file operations, or do anything slightly complicated. For such situations, microframeworks are better suited. One of the most popular microframeworks is Flask, written in Python, like Django. Similar microframeworks are also available in other technologies, e.g., Slim to PHP, Apache Spark to Java, Express.js to Node.js, etc.
- You want to write everything from scratch and know what you are doing.
- You or your colleagues are entirely new to Django/Python and don’t have the time or resources to develop the necessary skills.
Django is an excellent and popular framework supporting advanced technologies such as machine learning. On the other hand, PHP is an easy-to-learn programming language that can be used to build web applications.
Python is widely used in artificial intelligence, data science, and the scientific community.
You can make your choice according to the requirements of the project.