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JavaScript vs. Python, the Battle of Titans

JavaScript and Python are two of the world’s most popular programming languages. Anyone interested in exploring a tech career is sure to hear their names a lot. Both are robust tools for creating websites, web applications, and software. But what makes them different?

This article answers just that. We’ll have a look at each language’s basic applications and features, discuss their scalability, learning curve, and provide practical examples in terms of the differences in syntax and functions.

Real-World Applications            

Let’s start with an overview of the real-world application of each programming language.

Python

Thanks to its versatility, Python is an essential tool in almost any scientific application worldwide. It belongs to the general-purpose language category supporting plenty of programming paradigms.

Python is often used in artificial intelligence, data science, computer science education, machine learning, image processing, astronomy, biology, medicine, etc. Web developers also use it to create websites, and this is where this programming language approaches the usage of JavaScript. Developers mostly use Python for the backend, which are the sections invisible to the users. These include servers, accessing data from databases, and processing webpage requests.

JavaScript

JavaScript’s popularity skyrocketed in 2009 when Node.js appeared as a backend language. The developers could now start using this language both in the frontend and the backend side. The frontend refers to the elements of a website the users can see and interact with, such as buttons, headers, images, and similar. Overall, JavaScript has extensive usage in web development, and there’s a chance you’re using this language when interacting with most of your mobile apps.

Which Language Is Easier?

Those who have never studied programming before often start with “the easiest language.” The truth is, all new programmers will be confronted with a learning curve. However, Python’s is less steep compared to the JS. Python was created as a beginner-friendly language and mainly works with simple functions and variables. On the other hand, JavaScript is more complex and includes class definitions that take longer to grasp.

If you’re wondering how long it will take you to learn JS, know that you can master the basics in a matter of months to a year. You can take online classes or be your own teacher – there are plenty of resources for both. As for Python, the learning time is almost the same and mostly takes from a few months to a year.

Which Is More Scalable?

Before we answer this question, let’s explain what makes a programming language scalable. First, it’s the ability to deal with a large number of users and handle large volumes of data without relying on the servers too much. Node.js, for example, is created for scalability, as it supports asynchronous programming. This means a specific work unit can run separately from the main application thread. Python doesn’t support this kind of programming, but it can run with co-routines, which do support asynchronous programming.

Overall, Python’s architecture is less scalable, but it has all the right tools to reach scalability. YouTube and Instagram, which both use Python, are great examples of its scalability.

Which Language Is Faster?

JavaScript is one of the fastest programming languages because it’s created on Chrome V8, a super-fast engine. Due to its inherent speed, it’s a preferred language in constructing real-time applications.

What About the Job Opportunities?

At the time of writing, Indeed.com featured almost 13,000 job offers for Python developers and 9,500 listings for JavaScript specialists. However, both programming languages are extremely popular. Job offers range from entry-level to advanced. Most Python jobs are in the Machine Learning, Data Analytics, and Data Science sectors, while JS is more popular for frontend developer roles and full-stack engineers.

Overall, if your main goal is to get into the tech world, JS is your most worthy ticket. Any website can use a good frontend developer, and these professionals all need at least basic JavaScript skills.

JavaScript vs. Python Application Differences

Both programming languages can be used in backend web development. But Python is mainly used for scientific applications, while JavaScript is more oriented towards servers, user functionality, and web development.

Syntax Differences

As for the syntax, there are plenty of differences between the two programming languages.

Code Blocks

Python relies on indentation to define code blocks. when a series of code lines are indented at the same level, they take part of the same code block. JavaScript uses curly brackets to group the same code block statements.

Also, Python uses a newline to terminate a statement, while JS uses the “;” sign.

Encoding

As for the encoding format, JavaScript uses the UTF-16 format, although it comes without in-built support for manipulating raw bytes. Python uses the ASCII format by default unless there’s a specified encoding format.

Encoding

Constructor and Attributes

The constructor is a method used to create new instances of objects or classes. The primary purpose of a constructor is to initialize the instance attributes. The constructor in Python is called “init” and is named automatically as a class instance gets created. The parameters list the values programmers need to pass to create an instance. That list begins with “self,” much like the first parameter.

JavaScript’s constructor method is named “constructor,” and it also uses the parameters list. The instances in Python are referred to as “self,” while in JavaScript, programmers use “this.”

Lists and Arrays

Python uses lists to store sequence values in a data structure. These lists can be indexed, modified, sliced, or used in programs. The JavaScript equivalent of a list is called an array.

Hash Tables

Programmers can map values to each other and make key-value pairs using specific data structures called dictionaries, working as a hash table. JavaScript has no such data structure, but there are other ways to reproduce the functionality of hash tables.

Comments

Comments are essential in writing clean and readable codes. Python uses a hashtag (#) to add a single-line comment, while JS uses two slashes (//). For multi-line comments, Python programmers start each line with a hashtag, while JS’s multi-line comments begin with a “/*” and finish with “*/”. Characters between the two symbols are part of the comment.

Function Arguments

If Python programmers call a function using incorrect parameters, the language will raise an exception. Also, it may accept additional parameters passing syntax. Missing parameters in JavaScript are treated as “undefined” values, and the language doesn’t care what the function is called using proper parameters. Additional arguments can be treated as special arguments.

Implicit Conversion

In Python, implicit data type conversions never happen in the programming language itself, making this a strongly-typed language. JavaScript, on the other hand, is weakly typed and supports implicit data type conversions.

Inheritance

JavaScript and Python both support inheritance. JavaScript runs on the prototype-based model, while Python uses a class-based approach.

Mobile Application Development

JavaScript can be used both for frontend, backend, and mobile development. Python, however, isn’t suitable for mobile application programming.

Numeric Type

JavaScript only uses floating-point variables, while Python uses a more diverse type of numeric data, including int, float, and fixed-point decimals.

Read-Eval-Print-Loop (REPL)

Programmers get the REPL once they install Python on their systems. JavaScript doesn’t have a built-in REPL. Instead, developers can access JS inside their browser. Alternately, they can install Node.js if they want a REPL for this programming language.

Programming Approach

Both languages offer imperative, functional, and object-oriented approaches to programming. On top of that, Python has a few aspects of procedural programming, while JS doesn’t.

Mutability

Python divides data types into mutable and immutable. A set is mutable, while a list is an immutable type of data. Mutable objects’ values can be tweaked when they become assigned values. Immutable objects can’t be changed.

JavaScript doesn’t have this mutability concept.

Operators in JS and Python

Expressions in JS and Python, much like in any other programming language, are written using operators. Here are the key differences between JS and Python in this regard.

Operators in JS and Python

Floor Division

Most arithmetic operators work the same way in Python and JS. However, the floor division is slightly different. In Python, we represent this operator using a double slash: “//”. In JS, there’s no specific floor division operator. Instead, the “Math.floor ()” method is called to round the result to its nearest integer.

Value and Type Comparison

Python uses the “==” operator to check if two values and data types are the same. JavaScript’s operator works differently. It converts objects to the same type, and then it performs the comparison. To check whether the value and type of data are equal, JS uses the “===” operator. Basically, the “==” in Python and “===” in JS work in the same way.

Logical Operators

Python has the following logical operators: “and”, “or”, and “not”, while JS uses “&&”, “||”, and “!”.

Type Operators

Python uses the “type()” function to verify the type of an object, while JavaScript uses the “typeof” operator.

JS vs. Python – Which One Will You Learn?

Now that the showdown between the two popular programming languages is over, you should have a clearer picture of which one will be more convenient to learn. There’s no denying that they both come with a learning curve and a variety of applications.

However, there are some crucial differences that make one stand out from the other. Python is mainly used in AI, while JavaScript is indispensable for most developers. The bottom line is, whichever one you choose, you’ll embark an exciting new career packed with job opportunities!

By interactivated • on October 30, 2021

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