Node.js vs. Python: Choosing the Best Technology to Develop Back-End of Your Web App
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We take courage in both hands and claim that one of these technologies is winning it. Which one?
Node.js and Python are among the most popular technologies for back-end development. The rule has it that there is no better or worse programming language, and that everything depends on the preferences of a particular developer. Yet, in this article, we’ll take our courage in both hands and claim that one of these technologies – Node.js vs. Python – is winning it. Which one? Let’s see.
The comparison criteria that we’re going to consider are:
- Libraries & Dev tools
- Learning curve
- Apps it’s best suitable for
Python vs NodeJS: Brief overview
Python is a popular open-sourced programming language. It was first released in 1991 by Guido van Rossum. The latest version is Python 3.11, and it was launched in October 2022.
Python mainly runs on Google’s App Engine. Also developed by Google, the App Engine allows developing web apps with Python and benefit from numerous popular libraries and tools that the best Python developers use.
Pros and Cons of Using Node.js or Python
Wonder, what’s the benefit of using either Node.js or Python? Let’s figure out what technology might work best for you.
There are at least three massive benefits of Node.js:
- decrease in response time
- increase in app performance
- and reduction in development costs
It looks like those benefits explain the popularity of Node.js, isn’t it? In brief, this backend platform has become an actual trend which will evolve even more swiftly.
On top of that, Stack Overflow Research concluded that Node.js remains the leader among other frameworks. Such statistics prove that Node.js is worth learning.
Yet, there are some tools in the npm registry that might not be properly documented.
As Statista points out, Python is one of the most widely used programming languages. But why is it so? Is it truly an ideal programming language? Let’s think it over.
Among the prime benefits of Python, it’s necessary to highlight the following ones:
- multiple spots for library hosting
- AI development and machine learning opportunities
Yet, there is a HUGE drawback of Python that’s necessary to pay attention to from the start. If you prioritize high speed, Python won’t be the case since it takes more time to handle certain operations than other languages.
Below, we’ll analyze two technologies in detail.
Architecture in Node.js vs. Python
Node.js is designed as an event-driven environment, which enables asynchronous input/output. A certain process is called as soon as the respective event occurs, meaning no process blocks the thread. The event-driven architecture of Node.js is perfectly suitable for developing chat apps and web games.
By contrast, Python isn’t designed that way. It does have the possibility of building an asynchronous and event-driven app with the help of special tools. Such a module as asyncio makes it possible to write asynchronous code in Python as it would be done in Node.js. Yet, this library isn’t built in most Python frameworks; in any case, it requires some additional hustle.
The event-driven architecture brings Node.js the first point.
Node.js vs. Python: 1 – 0
NodeJS vs. Python: Speed
Since Node.js is faster, it wins a point regarding Node JS vs Python performance and speed.
Node.js vs. Python: 2 – 0
Syntax in Node.js vs. Python
Python’s syntax is often called the greatest advantage of it. While coding in Python, software developers need to write fewer code lines than if they were coding in Node.js. The syntax is very simple, and it’s free of curly brackets. Respectively, the code is much easier to read and debug. In fact, Python code is so readable that the clients with some technical background can understand it. But again it depends on personal preferences.
Only because Python syntax is easier to understand and to learn for beginners than the syntax of Node.js, Python wins a point here.
Node.js vs. Python: 2 – 1
Scalability in Node.js vs. Python
For the app to be scalable, multithreading needs to be enabled. Yet, Python doesn’t support multithreading because it uses Global Interpreter Lock (GIL). Although Python has libs for multithreading, it’s not “true” multithreading. Even if you have multiple threads, GIL doesn’t let Python interpreter perform a few tasks simultaneously but makes it run only one thread at a time. Python has to use GIL even though it negatively affects performance because Python’s memory management isn’t thread-safe. Furthermore, Python is dynamically-typed. Yet, dynamically-typed languages aren’t suitable for large projects with a growing development team. When growing, the system gradually becomes excessively complex and difficult to maintain.
Evidently, Python loses to Node.js in terms of scalability.
Node.js vs. Python: 3 – 1
NodeJS vs. Python: Extensibility
Node.js can be easily customized, extended, and integrated with various tools. It can be extended with the help of built-in APIs for developing HTTP or DNS servers. It can be integrated with Babel – a JS compiler, which will facilitate front-end development with old versions of Node or browser. Jasmine will be helpful for unit-testing, and Log.io will be helpful for project monitoring and troubleshooting. For data migration, process management, and module bundling, you can use Migrat, PM2, and Webpack. Moreover, Node.js can be extended with such frameworks as Express, Hapi, Meteor, Koa, Fastify, Nest, Restify, and others.
Python was introduced in 1991, and throughout its history, a lot of development tools and frameworks have been created. For example, Python can be integrated with a popular code editor Sublime Text, which offers some additional editing features and syntax extensions. For test automation, there is Robot Framework. There are also a few powerful web development frameworks, such as Django, Flask, Pyramid, Web2Py, or CherryPy.
So, both networks are easily extensible, and both win a point.
Node.js vs. Python: 4 – 2
Libraries & Dev Tools in Node.js vs. Python
In Node.js, libraries and packages are managed by NPM – the Node Package Manager. It is one of the biggest repositories of software libraries. NPM is fast, well-documented, and easy to learn to work with.
In Python, the management of libraries and packages is ensured by Pip, which stands for “Pip installs Python”. Pip is fast, reliable, and understandable, so developers find it easy to learn to work with it.
Node.js vs. Python: 5 – 3
NodeJS vs. Python: Universality
Python is full-stack, so it can be used both for back-end and front-end development. Similarly to Node.js, Python is cross-platform, so, for example, a Python program written on Mac will run on Linux. Both Mac and Linux have Python pre-installed, but on Windows, you should install the Python interpreter yourself. Yet, while Python is great for web and desktop development, it’s weak at mobile computing. Therefore, mobile apps aren’t generally written in Python. As for IoT and AI solutions, the popularity of Python as a language for writing is growing.
In terms of universality, Node.js and Python go nose to nose. It would be fair to grant each with a point.
Node.js vs. Python: 6 – 4
Learning curve in Node.js vs. Python
Nonetheless, the entry threshold of Node.js is still quite low. At the same time, if a programming language has a low entry threshold, there might be a lot of unprofessional developers. For you as a developer, it poses a threat of being unable to find a job in such a busy employment market. However, if you’re confident and have a great portfolio, you can easily solve this problem. For you as a business owner, it poses a threat of hiring low-quality specialists. Yet, you also can solve it by hiring a trusted software development agency.
Learning Python also teaches you how to indent the code properly since this language is indentation and whitespace sensitive. The same goes for Node.js, however. The problem with indentation and whitespace sensitive languages is that a single indentation mistake or a misplaced bracket can break your code for no obvious reason. A new developer may find it hard to troubleshoot such an issue. Installing Python is more difficult than installing Node.js. If you have Linux or Windows, you should be able to install Python with no problem. Yet, if you use macOS, you will see you have Python 2.0 preinstalled, but you can’t use it not to interfere with system libraries. Instead, you download and use another version, and when configuring the development environment, don’t forget to select the proper one.
Both Python and Node.js are easy to learn. You can’t answer objectively which one is simpler because it’s also a matter of personal preference. So, once again both technologies receive a point.
Node.js vs. Python: 7 – 5
NodeJS vs. Python: Community
Node.js community is large and active. It’s a mature open-sourced language with a an active user community. Ten years after the release were sufficient for developers from all over the world to grow to love this technology. As a business owner, you can easily find Node.js developers. As a developer, you can always rely on peer support.
Python is somewhat older than Node.js, and it’s also open-sourced. The user community has an immense number of contributors with different levels of experience. Once again, should you be a business owner or a developer, you benefit from the large-sized community.
Both Python and Node.js have great communities, so both receive a point.
Node.js vs. Python: 8 – 6
NodeJS vs. Python Use Cases: Apps It Is Best Suitable For
Due to its event-based architecture, Node.js perfectly suits apps that have numerous concurrent requests, heavy client-side rendering, or frequent shuffling of data from a client to a server. The examples of such apps are IoT solutions, real-time chatbots and messengers, and complex single-page applications. Node.js also works well for developing real-time collaboration services or streaming platforms. However, Node.js isn’t the best option for developing apps that require a lot of CPU resources.
Python is suitable for the development of both small and large projects. It can be used for data science apps, which involve data analysis and visualization, for voice and face recognition systems, image-processing software, neural networks, and machine learning systems. Python can also be used for the development of 3D modeling software and games.
Both technologies let you develop a wide range of apps. Which one is more suitable depends exclusively on what you need. Therefore, choosing a better one doesn’t have any sense. Here, neither technology gets a point because they don’t compete.
Node.js vs Python: 9 – 7
Challenges with Node.js and Python
Considering everything mentioned above, the key challenges around Node.js and Python are:
- absence of proper documentation of some tools in the npm registry
- low speed
- asyncio library isn’t built in most Python frameworks
- absence of support of multithreading
NodeJS vs. Python: Comparison summary
|Libraries & Dev Tools||✔️||✔️|
Nodejs or Python: What to Choose for Your Development?
Do you remember that we said we would prove that one technology is better than the other? Good! But you also should remember that each software project has its needs and requirements.
A language that works for one project may not work for another project at all.
Do you have an idea for a Node.js app?
Does it seem to you that Node.js is the framework you need? Please, find out more about Node.js development services that we offer.
Which is better: Node.JS or Python?
Node.js and Python are among the most popular technologies for back-end development. There is no better or worse programming language since everything depends on the preferences of a particular developer. You also should remember that each software project has its needs and requirements. Yet, it’s necessary to mention Python is usually preferred for server-side development, whereas Node. js is an ideal platform for building real-time web apps, gaming, and e-commerce platforms.
Which is faster: Python vs. Node.JS?
Python web apps are slower than Node.js web apps. Unlike Node.js, Python is single-flow, and the requests are processed much slower. So, Python isn’t the best choice for apps that prioritize speed and performance or involve a lot of complex calculations.
When should you use Node.JS?
Here, you can see the main areas in which Node.js can be applicable:
- Streaming web apps
- Real-time software & streaming apps
- Android apps
- Complex single-page apps
- IoT-based apps
- Developing APIs
- Backends and servers
- CMS, content publishing
- Online marketplace and stores
- Message Servers and Event Broadcasting
- Scripts, CLI (command-line interfaces), and many more
When should you use Python?
Some of the areas Python can be used for:
- AI and machine learning
- Data analytics
- Data visualization
- Programming apps
- Web development
- Game development
- 3D modeling software
- Language development