Java or Python: Which one to choose?

Java and Python are the two of the most widely used popular programming languages worldwide. Despite their differences, they both stand out for their powerful cross-platform support as well as for their extensive libraries.

Most used popular programming languages among developers worlwide as of 2023:

most-used-programming-languages-2023-statista

In this article, we will review and compare Java and Python key features, look at some code examples, and find out when to use each language. 

What is Java?

Java is a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language. It was developed in the mid-1990s by Sun Microsystems, with the principle of WORA – Write Once, Run Anywhere”

Java code is compiled into an intermediate form called bytecode, which is executed by the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). This allows Java programs to run on any device that has a JVM installed, regardless of the underlying hardware or operating system, making the language platform independent.

What is Python?

Python, often compared to a “Swiss Army knife” (a tool that can perform many different functions and tasks), is known for its simplicity, readability, and versatility. Developed in the early 1990s, this object-oriented language has gained immense popularity in recent years due to its ease of use and robust ecosystem of libraries and frameworks. 

Python is compatible with all operating systems, including Windows, MacOS, and Linux. Furthermore, the language is free software, meaning that users can download and use Python for free. This aligns with the principles of the GNU General Public License (GPL), which ensures that users have the freedom to use, modify, and redistribute the software.

python-java

Comparison of Java and Python

Let’s have a look at the main features and application areas of both Java and Python.

Typing and Stability

Java is a compiled language, with static typing. It has strict syntax rules, and all errors must be eliminated before compilation. This means that compiled Java apps are more stable and error-free.

Python is an interpreted language, with dynamic typing. It tests the syntax at runtime, making it less stable.

Ecosystem

Java has a mature and extensive ecosystem, with a variety of libraries and frameworks, such as Spring, JavaServer Faces (JSF), Apache Struts, Hibernate, Dropwizard, and more. This ecosystem is particularly well-suited for building enterprise applications on a large scale.

Python also boasts a rich ecosystem of libraries and frameworks, including Django, NumPy, TensorFlow, Bottle, Flask, and others. This vast collection accelerates development and minimizes the need for reinventing the wheel.

Syntax, Verbosity, and Learning

Java syntax involves the frequent use of curly braces and semicolons, and is generally difficult to write and read. Java code is also very wordy, which may lead to longer development times and long lines of code. These two features make the Java language more difficult to learn than Python.

Python has a more concise syntax and focuses on simplicity and readability. This can make Python code faster to write and easier to learn.

Speed Execution

Being a compiled language, Java executes its code faster than Python. 

Python is an interpreted language, where the code is executed line by line, often resulting in slower performance​.

Application areas

Java

  • Android App Development
  • Web Applications
  • Big Data
  • Internet of Things
  • Enterprise Solutions

Python

  • Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
  • Big Data / Data Science
  • Scripting and automating tasks 
  • Web Development

Java and Python Code Examples

To demonstrate the syntax and features of each language, here are some simple code examples of both Java and Python.

“Hello World” in Java:

java-example-code

“Hello World” in Python:  

python-example-code

Java and Python in the near Future

Java and Python have long been among the most popular programming languages. However, as seen in the chart, the vast popularity of Java is slowly but steadily declining, and has recently been overtaken by other languages. On the other hand, Python’s ratings were far from impressive for many years. Despite its simplicity and other advantages, Python’s popularity only began to grow significantly in 2018.

Python is currently one of the most popular programming languages for developing AI and ML solutions and models. It is safe to say that Python looks slightly more promising for the future. However, the decline in Java’s popularity is rather small, so it will definitely remain one of the most in-demand development languages for the near future.

When to Use Java and Python?

Both Java and Python have their unique strengths and application areas. The choice between them ultimately depends on your project requirements, your personal preferences, and the expertise of your development team.

Java may be a better fit for:

  1. Building large-scale enterprise applications, including banking systems, e-commerce platforms, and CRM software (due to Java’s performance and scalability).
  2. Android app development
    Java has been a primary language for Android app development, making it the go-to choice for mobile application development.
  3. Web Applications
    Java is a decent choice for web applications requiring fast performance, as it is a compiled language with better performance. Frameworks like Spring and Hibernate are popular choices for Java web development.
  4. Big Data
    Java plays a significant role in the big data ecosystem, with tools like Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark being written in Java.
  5. Internet of Things
    Java’s cross-platform compatibility and scalability, as well as the availability of various libraries and tools such as Eclipse Kura and Java ME Embedded, make it well suited to IoT development.

Python may be more suitable for:

  1. Smaller projects, prototyping, or quick development (due to Python’s extensive libraries and concise syntax).
  2. ML and AI solutions
    A large number of libraries and tools such as TensorFlow, Keras, PyTorch and Scikit-learn enable developers to build AI and ML solutions and models. For example, ChatGPT was primarily developed using Python.
  3. Big Data / Data Science
    With libraries such as Pandas, Numpy and Matplotlib, Python can be used to process, analyse and visualise large amounts of data.
  4. Web Development
    Python is used to build web servers and applications, including those using frameworks such as Django and Flask. Python makes it quick and easy to develop functional web applications and websites, especially those that do not require large amounts of computing resources.
  5. Beginners
    Because Python’s syntax is relatively easy and clear, it is an excellent choice for those new to programming.

Conclusion

The choice between Python and Java ultimately depends on your project requirements, your personal preferences, and the expertise of your development team. Consider your specific needs and goals when making this decision, and you’ll be on your way to successful programming endeavors.

If you are not sure which programming language to choose, please feel free to reach us out, and tell us what you need. We will help you choose the appropriate language as well as build you a solid product or renovate your existing one.