Node.js vs. Python: Which Backend Technology to Select in 2021

When it comes to developing web applications, JavaScript and Python are the leading languages. According to a survey, javascript is the most utilized development language till 2021. Python comes third in this list, so choosing one from these is confusing. Hence today, we’ll cover an in-depth comparison between these market leaders to find out which is the best language.

There are many aspects that need to be taken care of while choosing a backend language for your application. Because the backend language you choose will set the performance levels of your application, you should choose it carefully.

Two Major Programmings used for Backend

Here are the two major stack or programming languages used for backend development in 2021. Let’s have a brief overview of both these backend languages.

1. Python

Created by guido van Rossum, Python is an object-oriented programming language. It was developed with the motive to create a language that is more human-readable.

Python entered the markets in 1991 and since then played low until its usage in AI, machine learning, and data science fields sprang up.

Python is used in mathematical and algorithmic surroundings, but it has also become a web development language due to the development of frameworks.

There is a vast collection of frameworks for the python language, making it one of the most loved programming languages.

Python can be used anywhere using the frameworks, ranging from web development, desktop application development, Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Machine Learning, and more.

Having Known About Python, let’s get to know node js.

2. Node Js

Node js was created by Ryan Dahl with the intent to make backends and servers using javascript. It was released in 2009, and since then, its popularity has been multiplying every year.

Javascript was a front-end language used to create dynamic user interfaces and inject content into a page during runtime. But with the introduction of node js, javascript can be used to write code for complex backends.

Node js comes with the node package manager, which is linked to the npm repository. The npm repository is one of the largest repositories for reusable libraries and modules and helps in node.js application development. Using the npm repository, you can work on anything, as it can provide you with libraries that support your process.

Moreover, node js is object-oriented, and it is built on the chrome v8 javascript engine that is blazing fast. The framework benefits from this, and its execution speeds are pretty fast too.

By now, you’ve understood both the languages, so now it is time for some action. Let’s compare both the languages head to head and try to find a winner.

Which Backend Language You Should Use?

Both these languages are famous because they provide multiple benefits. Now we’ll compare these two languages on specific points and find out which of the two is a better choice.

1. Syntax

Python was created with the motive of having a simple syntax, which it proves. The syntax for any python program is straightforward. It is well indented and in a human-readable format.

Moreover, Python is powerful, and it can achieve tasks with lesser lines of code. So programmers love it. Learning Python is easy; you can just see a bunch of tutorials and start working.

On the other hand, Node js is based on javascript, which has a relatively tougher syntax. Node js’s syntax is more like javascript, and it resembles other high-level languages like Java, C++, etc. Also, the learning curve for node js is steep. You need to learn basic javascript, then es6 versions, and only then can you start learning Node js.

Even though both these languages are object-oriented, Python is the winner here. Its programs are easier to read and understand, and syntax is also easy to learn.

2. Performance

While building a backend, the language you choose affects your application’s performance heavily. If you choose a slower backend language, you should expect a drop in performance and a delay in processing requests. However, this changes when the backend language is fast.

Python is an interpreted language, and everyone knows that interpreted languages are slower. Python has options for multithreading, but it runs on one single thread at the core, which makes it slower. In Python, requests are processed at a much slower rate than node js.

Compared to Python, node js is pretty fast even though it is based on an interpreted language. Node js follows the non-blocking IO model, due to which many requests can be served simultaneously.

Also, node js is based on the google v8 javascript engine, which gets regular performance makeovers from Google. Node js has other features too that speed up code execution for backend servers programmed with this language.

If you are looking for speed, you should choose node js. Here node js is the clear winner. In terms of performance, python backends may prove sluggish, and over time, as the application grows, the problems may become significant.

3. Libraries and Community

Libraries and communities make development easier. You cannot write every functionality from scratch. If prebuilt libraries and modules are available, it is better to use them to save time. On the other hand, when you get stuck on any problem, it’s the community of other programmers working on the language who will help you. A strongly built community makes development tasks more manageable.

Both python and node js have great libraries. For Python, it uses the pip as its package manager. Pip is a CLI tool that fetches libraries from the PyPI repository and installs them on your local machine. Pip is small and powerful. Also, it has a wide range of libraries to facilitate Data Science, AI, Machine Learning, and so on.

There are also different web frameworks available in Python for Web Development that support both backends as well as frontends. There is Flask and Django for building enterprise-level web applications. The bottle is another most lightweight framework.

Python being a significantly old language has a well-built community. The community of programmers can quickly help you with solutions for any problem that you face.

Besides Python, node js has extensive library support too. It is backed by a node package manager, which is the largest repository of reusable modules and libraries. As a node is based on javascript, it is easier to develop libraries as most people know how to code in javascript.

Node comes with CLI tools to install and use libraries in the project. Also, it provides options to install the library just for the project or for the entire local system.

If you are looking for a language with good support, both languages can provide you with this. Both have a very well-built community, and development is easier with the help of libraries. In this context, there is no clear winner among the two. Both languages are equally weighted here.

Final Verdict

There is no such thing as a perfect programming language. A language is good for you if it has all the essential things for your backend project. While choosing a back-end programming language, you should correctly identify your project’s needs and understand the technical requirements.

If your project requires high execution speeds, then it is better to proceed with top node js. But if the project is based on AI, data science, and machine learning, you should choose Python because of the library support it provides in this field.

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