JavaScript VS. Python: A Scripting Language Comparison

Jessica Agorye

Written by Full-Stack Developer

August 23, 2022
JavaScript VS. Python:  A Scripting Language Comparison

Different scripting languages have their significance; millions of users globally engage with either of these languages in developing web applications, desktop applications, app development and others. However, scripting languages like JavaScript and Python take the front row.

In this article, we will be dissecting each language and making a comparison between them. Before we begin, we will define JavaScript and Python, and their advantages and disadvantages. Overall, we’ll be looking at what makes them unique in their respective nature.

What is JavaScript?


What is JavaScript

JavaScript is an object-oriented computer programming language commonly used to create interactions within a web browser. The scripting language is considered the life of a web application; if likened to the human form, you could say JavaScript is how the web moves and breathes.

Java Script is concerned with how the web functions- interactions on a web page or web application, and is a fundamental requirement in developing the client side of a website. With JavaScript, you can add actions to web pages. There are various JavaScript frameworks accessible to developers that support productivity. These frameworks are readymade solutions that make it less tasking for programmers; a few examples are Node, Angular, and React.

JavaScript Key Features


  • Object-oriented

  • Interpreted language

  • Runs in a browser

  • Cross-platform language

  • Easy to learn

  • Offers added third-party code

What is Python?


What is Python

Python is a high-level language used in creating different programs applied in web applications, machine learning, automation and data science.

It is efficient in solving complex problems with fewer lines of code. There are several python frameworks available to developers that aid efficiency examples are Django, Flask and TurboGears.

Python Key Features


  • Free and Open source

  • Easy to read and Understand

  • Interpreted Language

  • Cross-platform

  • It can integrate with other languages.

Statista's recent survey to determine the most popular languages amongst developers showed JavaScript at the top and Python in 4th place.

Key Features of Python

From the key features, you can see that Python and JavaScript both have similar features, and now that we have gone through the definition and attributes of each language, we’ll go over their advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages and Disadvantages of JavaScript


Advantages

Speed
Large Libraries, Tools & Framework
Versatility
Global Language
Disadvantages

Client-Side Security
Browser Compatibility
Lenient Nature

Advantages of JavaScript

  • Speed
    Development moves fast within javascript because it is interpreted directly on the host’s machine and does not require any server for its compilation.
  • Large Libraries, Tools & Framework
    JavaScript has several libraries, tools and frameworks integrated within each other; these resources aid development. Examples include; React, MongoDB and Grunt.
  • Versatility
    Apart from being supported by almost every web browser, once javaScript is mastered, it can be used in the development of web, mobile and desktop applications; these include the client-side and server-side of a website.
  • Global Language
    JavaScript is one of the most globally accepted and recognized scripting languages used by several developers. It is the most preferred scripting language compared to other languages like Ruby and PHP.

Disadvantages of JavaScript

  • Client-Side Security
    JavaScript's execution on the client-side of a web application makes its code visible because of how accessible it is. It can be tampered with; weaknesses and bugs can also be exploited which compromises security and can be used for malicious purposes. In the developer tool, for instance, you can inspect the network where all the JavaScript files are visible.
  • Browser Compatibility
    JavaScript is indeed supported by almost every web browser; however, because browsers run a unique rendering engine, web elements are processed differently. Errors occur when developers try to use modern JavaScript features that are not supported by older browsers or older versions of new browsers. Therefore, testing must be done to ensure compatibility with browsers.
  • Lenient Nature
    JavaScript is considered to be less strict in nature, allowing for bugs and inconsistencies in your code. For JavaScript to follow a stricter mode, you’re required to introduce it directly in your code, to ensure that it evaluates and runs code more rigorously.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Python


Advantages

Beginner Friendly
Simple Syntax
Open-Source
Versatility
Disadvantages

Slow Speed
Not Memory Efficient
Design Restrictions

Advantages of Python

  • Beginner Friendly
    Due to its simplicity, learners do not need to spend time trying to understand its syntax, and developers can focus their time and energy on solving problems. It is friendly to learners and does not require extensive coding to get things done - less code and more results.
  • Simple Syntax
    Python’s syntax is closer to human language and further from machine language, which makes it easier to read and understand the code.
  • Open-Source
    Python is open source; it is free to use and also distribute. Users can download the source code, modify it and distribute their version.
  • Versatility
    Python is used for numerous tasks, from web development to artificial intelligence.

Disadvantages of Python

  • Slow Speed
    Python executes code line by line, which results in slow execution.
  • Not Memory Efficient
    Python uses a large amount of memory which can be a disadvantage while building applications.
  • Design Restrictions
    Python is dynamically typed; programmers do not need to worry about providing the correct “type” information. It follows the principle of “Duck Typing”, that is, the type or the class of an object is less important than the methods it defines.

Python vs. JavaScript: Detailed Comparison


Application

What can we do with javascript and python? There is a lot that can be done by mastering either language.

  • JavaScript
    JavaScript can be used in developing web applications, websites, server-side applications, IOT(Internet of Things) applications etc.

  • Python
    Python can be used for web development, game development, machine learning and artificial intelligence, data science and data visualization, web scoping, serverless computing, embedded apps etc.

Syntax

Syntax is a set of rules used to define the symbols present in a program. Every programming language has its syntax.

  • JavaScript
    In Javascript, curly braces are used to differentiate blocks of code, and there are also constraints established like declaring variables and using semi-colons.

E.g Let us calculate the value of two numbers and return the result;

Let x = myFunction (7,9); 
 
Function myFunction (a, b) {
return a * b; 
}
  • Python
    Python syntax is simple to read and understand because it was created to mirror the English language. In python, you do not need to make use of variable types, brackets or semi-colons. It makes use of white space characters to differentiate between the line of code, which makes indentation mandatory.

E.g Let us define, and call a function;

def  my_function(): 
	print (“Hello I am a function”) 
my_function()

Encoding Format

Encoding is a method that is used to convert one format of data to another.

  • JavaScript
    JavaScript engines use UTF-16 encoding, because, it doesn’t offer built-in support for manipulating raw bytes.
  • Python
    ASCII is the source code in python, it’s used to translate characters (such as letters, punctuation, symbols, whitespace, and control characters) to integers and finally to bits.

Data Types

Data types specify the type of value a variable has and what kind of mathematical, relational or logical operations can be enforced on it without causing lapses in our code.

  • JavaScript
    In JavaScript, the data type is split into two categories, primitive and reference data types. Examples of primitive data types include numbers, string, boolean, null, undefined and symbols. Reference data types include arrays, functions, collections, objects, dates and other objects.

  • Python
    In python, the standard data types include numeric data type, sequence data type, and boolean. Numeric data types include data that has numeric values like integer, float, and complex numbers. The sequence enables the storage of values like strings, lists, and tuples. While boolean consists of the two built-in values, True or False.

Inheritance

The importance of inheritance is to allow software engineers to develop class hierarchies or relationships where classes and objects acquire properties and behaviours from their parents.

  • JavaScript
    JavaScript uses a prototype-based inheritance model, where an object can inherit the property of another object. The object from where the properties are inherited is called the prototype. This method eliminates data and logic duplication.

  • Python
    Python uses class-based inheritance methods by default, the class inherits all the methods and properties from another class.

Hash Tables

A Hash table is a data function that maps keys to its value pairs. It uses a function that computes an index value which holds the elements to be searched, inserted and removed.

  • JavaScript
    Hash Table in JavaScript is the Object data type, where you can pair the object's property value with a property key.

E.g

Let obj = {
USA:  “Washington DC” 
	Andorra: “Andorra la Vella”
	 }

The key USA is paired with the capital of “Wahington DC” and key Andorra is paired with the value “ Andorra la Vella”

  • Python
    In python, hash tables are executed via a built-in dictionary data type, an example of a dictionary would be pairing a country and its capital.

E.g

Capitals = { “USA” : “Washington DC” , “Andorra” : “Andorra la Vella” }

Exception Handling

Exception handling is an event that occurs during the execution of a program which disrupts the normal flow of the program's instructions. An exception represents an error.

  • JavaScript
    In JavaScript, three types of errors can occur. These are syntax, runtime, and logical errors. A syntax error occurs when the wrong syntax is applied in a code, while a runtime error occurs during the execution of the code. The codes that cause runtime errors are known as exceptions. Logical errors occur when there’s a logical mistake in the program.

The following statements are required when exceptions occur;

Throw statements
Try… catch statements
Try…catch…finally statements.

  • Python
    The Two types of errors in Python are syntax errors and exceptions. A syntax error occurs when the wrong syntax is applied in the code, while an exception is raised if its function is called using incorrect parameters or when the program is syntactically correct, and still, the code results in an error. However, this error does not stop the execution of the program, it simply changes alters the normal flow of the program.

Conclusion


You may wonder, why do a comparison between both languages? It is so that we can understand both languages in their uniqueness. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which language you prefer based on their differences, and if you’re capable of working with both languages, even better!

Frequently Asked Questions


Do I need to know how to code in order to use WordPress?

There isn’t a need for advanced coding knowledge to use WordPress. The platform offers plenty of plugins and themes which you can use to customize your website.

How secure is PHP?

PHP has an excellent security reputation and the developers are constantly making updates. Plus, you’ll benefit from additional security measures for your site by opting for a managed hosting package.

What content management sytems use PHP?

All of the most popular content management systems are compatible with PHP including, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Magento

Can I contact the PHP developers?

Not directly, however, over on PHP.net you’ll find an extensive range of patch update information, forums, and articles that will answer the majority of your technical questions.

Jessica Agorye
About the Author
Jessica Agorye

Jessica Agorye is a witty creative in love with life. She is based in Lagos Nigeria and is currently working on being a full-stack developer. She has worked as a content developer for over 5 years and believes that content is king.

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