Some technologies get their 5 minutes on the stage and then leave it, but there are two that always get a lot of applause and whose number of fans does not shrink. These are Python and Node.js. In this article, we will take a look at both of them and analyze where they work best.
Python and Node.js brief history
It is important to know that both Python and Node.js will do a great job of developing web applications, Each of them has different features and definitions therefore before we go on to compare them, it is worth learning more about them.
Python appeared in 1991, and its name refers to Monty Python. Not without reason. The tool was designed to be not only easy to use, but also… fun and lightweight. Thanks to these qualities, Python is very popular among beginners in programming. What’s more, it’s an open-source community language and has many frameworks that are valuable at work, the most popular of which are Django, Flask, and API. Most often, Python is used by those who develop business applications and those that are most customer-facing.
Unlike other languages, Python focuses on a single theme. It is a high-level and dynamic programming language that will work well in a variety of software development areas. It can definitely be said that Python is a breakthrough in the world of technology.
It’s important to start with the fact that Node.js is not a programming language. It is a runtime environment for the Java Script language. This means that it is naturally the preferred platform for server-side programming. Why is Node.js so useful? Because it is scalable, efficient, and event-driven, making it invaluable for large-scale projects.
Can we use Python and Node.js simultaneously?
Each technology has its own way of doing things, and they are used to achieving really different goals in applications. In the case of the backend, it’s good to know a particular tool in detail and stick to it, rather than unnecessarily using two at once. Understanding your chosen technology stack is key to creating great products!
Python vs. Node.js comparison
The choice between Node.js and Python depends on what you really need from your digital product. As a warm-up, we’ve put together a comparison of a few elements of both tools.
Although Python’s architecture is multithreaded, there is only one thread at a time that has the ability to take control of the Python interpreter. With its ability to work in a non-blocking manner, Python has capabilities equal to JS.
It is much easier to understand the difficulty of complex and large applications with its development than in Node.js.
Unfortunately slow, although there are versions of the Python interpreter, and libraries that are faster and, which improve performance that can be close to even C/C+ levels.
We must admit that it is easy to customize, moreover, it has an extensive library of packages so that new features can be added.
We must admit that Python’s standard library is complete and that it is a language with extensive capabilities.
Ease of use
The point of Python from the very beginning was that it can be used literally everywhere and that it has a very simple syntax.
The 3.4 million editions by themselves speak volumes about the very high popularity and developed community.
Node.js is non-blocking, single-threaded and uses event-driven design.
Node.js scales vertically in a manner similar to Python (this is due to the single-threaded nature of both technologies). In the horizontal direction, on the other hand, Node.js has great ease of scaling.
Very fast thanks to the V8 engine.
It easily adapts, combines and adds with other tools.
Ease of use
About one million open-source packages.
A system’s software architecture defines the method by which the system’s major components relate to each other. There is no single way to define architecture, but if designed well, it creates systems that are functional, maintainable and scalable.
Because Node.js is characterized as non-blocking, single-threaded, and uses an event-driven design, it has a single-threaded event loop approach. As a result, it manages a multitude of client requests at the same time and produces fast and small processes, aiming to use as few resources as possible. The truth is that Node.js is able to manage a very large number of concurrent connections thanks to the fact that it is non-blocking. So it is a good solution for all real-time applications.
Python, on the other hand, also being a single-threaded system, can only control the Python interpreter by a single thread when executing Python code at any given time. This is due to the Global Interpreter Lock system. GIL switches between single threads at specified intervals so that each thread has a chance to execute code. The difference between Python and Node.js is that it is not built on an event-driven model. It’s important to know that with improvements, Python can still be used for asynchronous applications. All of its new frameworks are already switched to async, which is increasingly used.
Scalability of a web application means its ability to grow linearly as the number of users increases. By creating an MVP, you get an application that can be coded in basically any language. As you add features to it, resource consumption goes up evenly.
With Node.js, it’s common to lay out a microservices architecture, which means small and separated pieces of application logic that connect via lightweight protocols. To achieve a flexible development approach, additional modules and microservices must be added. However, this unfortunately increases the complexity of the software architecture.
In Python, on the other hand, we also have microservices and async. So everything scales the same as in Node.js.
The efficiency of the software can be seen in the speed at which it performs all the actions. The faster the code, the faster the response time. Unfortunately, it’s a little different in a case like web applications. Using a faster language does not necessarily mean an improvement. This is because there are many more moving parts in web applications such as databases.
Node.js deals with this problem in that it runs code externally (to the browser). Thanks to the V8 engine, the fact that it is non-blocking, and its event-driven architecture, Node.js is able to process several requests simultaneously and is really fast unlike Python.
Python, being an interpreted language, has to be compiled into byte code before it can be executed on a computer, and does not address application performance. However, it is important to note that there are already faster versions of the interpreter such as Stackless Python, which allows the language to be used for threaded programming.
In choosing a software development tool, it is essential to pay attention to whether it allows adding new functionality without affecting previous ones. It is also important to have a good echo system. In the case of both Python and Node.js, there are very satisfying possibilities for extending the application.
In the case of Node.js, integration with other tools is provided by a built-in API for building servers such as HTTP and DNS. As for Python, it has a large library of packages to extend its functionality. Both technologies also have frameworks to help in this regard.
With Python, the case is a bit different. Speed has never been Python’s priority, so it’s definitely slower than Java, where trends are definitely faster. It can be sped up using several methods. An asynchronous library, PyPy or a faster runtime fee are among the ways to increase the speed of the tool.
Ease of use
Instead, simplicity and versatility are qualities that undoubtedly characterize Python. It has a much shorter code not only than Node.js, but also than most other languages, which is why programming in Python is generally appreciated by its community and considered very pleasant.
Both Node.js and Python boast a large and engaged community that is constantly improving the tools that already exist. The Node.js platform currently has over a million packages that are open-source and can be found on npm. This makes it easier to find answers to many questions, which makes Node.js easier to learn.
Python, on the other hand, due to being more mature in age than Node.js has as many as 3.4 million releases and about 370,000 packages. This means that by using Python you can learn from the experience of a very developed and active Python community, in addition, it is open-source.
How to choose between Python and Node.js?
The first step to developing a web application is choosing the right technology. Especially when building a back-end, there are many factors to carefully consider such as budget, scalability, security and launch time. With frameworks, you can effectively increase the productivity and efficiency of your product, but before that you need to determine its specific needs and goals. This is not an easy task, however, with the help of an experienced digital agency, you can precisely select the right technology stack.
When to use Node.js?
Node.js is a great choice when you want to build a real-time collaboration application, as well as for streaming platforms. Thanks to its event-driven architecture, it is also sure to be a great tool for building applications that handle many requests from multiple clients at one time, such as chatbots. On the other hand, be careful when choosing Node.js for applications that require a lot of CPU resources, as it may not be the best idea in that case.
When to use Python?
Python, thanks to its flexibility, can be used for projects of different scales – both small and large. Thanks to its rich library, an MVP can be built and implemented quickly. Python is best for applications that are related to data visualization, for face and voice recognition systems, for 3d modeling, as well as for computer games. It will also certainly work well for applications that are related to analytics, as well as machine learning systems.
Choose a good technology for your application
Undoubtedly, Python and Node.js are both powerful frameworks with enduring popularity, and both are very strong contenders. However, it cannot be said unanimously that either one is better. The choice of technology for backend development should be made based on the individual needs of the application. If you are not able to analyze your product for your requirements on your own, contact us! At Applover, we will give you suggestions on which technology stack to choose and explain why we think it would be best for your application.