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Last Updated: Saturday 4th November 2023

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Every web developer has to start somewhere. Usually, it means taking a course, reading a few books on the subject, and doing test runs of the first app or website they built from scratch. But one element precedes all these steps — deciding which tools they want to learn and use for the job.

Although it's perfectly reasonable to say that there is always time to learn new tricks, deciding which tricks you learn first can alter the shape of your entire career.

NodeJS and Python are two prominent solutions used in application development by millions of people. However, while they share some overlapping use cases, they are wildly different technologies.

If you ever wondered which of these is a better fit for your needs, wonder no more! Below, we explain in detail when and how to use both.

What Is NodeJS?

NodeJS is an open-source JavaScript runtime environment. It's built on Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine and uses a non-blocking, event-driven I/O model.

Translating from techno-speak to layman's terms, it is a solution that allows web and app developers to build scalable server-side applications. For those who are not well-versed in coding, seeking professional node.js development services can be a viable option. If you want to develop and run real-time web applications, you would most likely search for NodeJS development services or use the platform yourself.

You can run NodeJS on OS X, Microsoft Windows, and Linux operating systems. This factor makes it a highly versatile option.

Yet, NodeJS's flexibility wanes compared to the multitude of uses offered by Python.

What Is Python?

Python is an open-source, high-level, dynamic programming language. As we can read on its official website, it is "powerful... and fast; plays well with others; runs everywhere; is friendly & easy to learn; is Open."

Most importantly, Python is a general-purpose language, meaning you can use it for all sorts of purposes and projects. Whether you are into building websites and software, machine learning, automation, or data analytics — Python is your best friend.

Combine this crazy flexibility with high use-friendliness, and you can see why it's one of the leading programming languages.

What Are Their Advantages?

NodeJS and Python offer several unique advantages to help you achieve your goals. Here is a brief explanation of the most notable benefits they provide.

Advantages of NodeJS

  • Scalability — As mentioned earlier, web developers use NodeJS to build scalable server-side applications. While the platform lacks clean coding standards, it is a pretty good solution to handle multiple connections with high throughput.
  • Simplicity — NodeJS is also relatively straightforward to learn. Getting a good grasp of its basics shouldn't take much time, whether you use it for client-side or server-side developments.
  • Speed — The use of V8 JavaScript Engine makes NodeJS the fastest code execution library. Furthermore, as its applications output data in pieces, there is no buffering, making its speed and efficiency even more impressive.
  • Excellent ecosystem — NodeJS offers a fantastic ecosystem, allowing developers to find the support they need to complete their projects. NPM, the world's largest Software Registry, features thousands of packages you can use to extend its functionality.

Advantages of Python

  • Versatility — When it comes to flexibility and versatility, Python is king. You can easily integrate it with C, C++, COM, ActiveX, CORBA, and Java. On top of that, it offers a comprehensive library of open-source data analysis tools, testing instruments, and web frameworks.
  • Cross-platform support — You can run the programs written in Python on any operating system, including the most popular ones like Microsoft Windows and macOS.
  • Intuitiveness — While very powerful, Python is not a challenging language to learn. On the contrary, it offers a reasonably low barrier to entry for all interested.
  • GUI support — Another benefit of using Python is that it has multiple fully developed GUI frameworks. Examples include Tkinter, PyQt5, and Pygame.

When To Use Them?

Finding the best use cases for these technologies largely depends on their properties, which we described above. In other words, to make the most out of Python and NodeJS functionalities, you need to play to their strengths.

With this in mind, it is safe to say the speed and efficiency offered by NodeJS might come in handy for memory-intensive activities. Python lacks these qualities, making it a less suitable option for developing heavy-load applications and e-commerce sites that depend on processing speed.

On the other hand, Python excels at beginner-friendliness. Its simpler syntax and code structure with better readability give it a slight edge over NodeJS in this department. Some people even teach it at universities.

The same goes for versatility — you can use Python for virtually any kind of development. NodeJS 'field of use is more limited. It is best suited for data-intensive, real-time applications.

Another noteworthy difference between the two is their architecture. NodeJS relies on JavaScript interpreters, while Python uses CPython as an interpreter. It directly translates to their use potential.

NodeJS is designed to reduce resource usage. Because it is based on a single-threaded event loop model, it allows for relatively lightweight processes with fast executions.

Python is a bit more robust. It converts its code into bytecode, which then is converted into machine code using an interpreter. It takes time and resources, leading to slower code execution times.

Nevertheless, if you are worried about Python's lack of speed, you can use interpreters like PyPy to increase it. Once you replace the default CPython with one of them, you should notice a significant improvement in efficiency.

The Bottom Line

So, what's the final verdict on the NodeJS vs Python debate? For the most part, it depends on your needs and preferences.

Python is an excellent choice for large projects, as you can use it for virtually anything. If you wish to try your luck in multiple endeavors, such as machine learning, numerical computations, network programming, and web applications, it's the best tool for the job.

Conversely, NodeJS is a better choice for small-scale projects. Its unique properties will be ideal if you want to create a unified runtime environment. It will allow you to develop cross-platform web, mobile, and desktop applications.

Consider your needs, look again at the standout qualities of each solution, and select the one that better suits your vision. Good luck!