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PHP Vs Python Vs Ruby: The Battle of Web Programming Languages

2021-02-07
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For any beginner web developer, the question that always comes to mind is this – which language should I use for my web development projects? Every language has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Although many factors come into play when deciding which language to use during development, for example security, speed, adaptability, among others.

 

While there are lots of articles and blogs floating on the Internet taking about PHP vs Python or PHP vs Ruby there are few that have comprehensively compared these three programming languages.

 

In this blog post, I am going to clear your many doubts related to these programming languages or technologies, so that you can choose the best language according to your specific needs and requirements.

 

Let's Start with the Pros & Cons that each language offers

 

Pros:

 

PHP

 

  • Being an open-source language, all the components of PHP are free to use.

 

  • Websites and web apps developed using PHP can run on all the major operating systems, which is an added advantage as it saves both, time and money.

 

  • When compared to other languages, PHP is very much easy to use and learn. It also makes the development process much simpler.

 

  • PHP is used to develop dynamic and highly efficient web pages that perform really well.

 

Python

 

  • Python is very easy to write and learn programming language. It facilitates development using fewer codes as compared to other languages.

 

  • Python is an extensible and embeddable language, if required you can write code using C or C++ also.

 

  • Python is a free, open-source, and cross-platform programming language. It also facilitates WORA i.e. write once and read anywhere.

 

  • Python also offers easy debugging, as compared to other languages.

 

Ruby on Rails

 

  • ROR is an open-source, cross-platform web app framework.

 

  • ROR framework is very much easy to learn, but it takes time to gain expertise in this language.

 

  • ROR follows some of the best web development standards and practices.

 

  • Most development comapnies love developing web apps and websites using this framework as it provides a fast development process.

 

Cons:

 

PHP

 

  • It is not suitable for giant content-based web applications.

 

  • It has a weak type, which can cause incorrect data and knowledge to user.

 

  • PHP frameworks got to learn to use PHP built-in functionalities to avoid writing additional code.

 

  • PHP don’t allow change or modification in core behavior of online applications.

 

Python 

 

  • Speed limitations- We have seen that Python code is executed line by line. But since Python is interpreted, it often results in slow execution.

 

  • Weak in mobile computing and browsers- While it serves as an excellent server-side language, Python is much rarely seen on the client-side.

 

  • Simplicity- No, I am not kidding. Python’s simplicity can indeed be a problem.

 

  • Design restrictions- Python is dynamically-typed. This means that you don’t need to declare the type of variable while writing the code.

 

Ruby On Rails

 

  • Documentation- It can be hard to find good documentation. Particularly for the less popular gems and for libraries which make heavy use of mixins (which is most of Rails).

 

  • Runtime Speed- The most cited argument against Ruby on Rails is that it's "slow".

 

  • ActiveRecord- AR is used heavily within the Ruby on Rails world and is a hard dependency for many of the RubyGems.

 

  • Boot Speed - The main frustration we hear from developers working in Rails is the boot speed of the Rails framework.

 

PHP vs. Python vs. Ruby 

 

1. Powered Sites

 

When it comes to choosing a tool for web development project we often like to know about the bigger websites or businesses that use similar tools. And all the three platforms have their own loyalist. Here are some of the top websites that use these platforms.

 

  • PHP – Yahoo, Wikipedia, Flickr, WordPress...

 

  • Python – Google, YouTube, DropBox, Survey Monkey, Quora, Reddit...

 

  • Ruby on Rails – Twitter, Groupon, Bloomberg, GitHub, Urban Dictionary...

 

2. Ease of Learning

 

This is something every new programmer looks forward to when it comes to choosing a new programming language. And most programmers want to put their previous programming knowledge such as C or others into good use. If ease of learning is your biggest criteria of choice without any doubt you need to choose Python as its coding style is very intuitive in nature and doesn’t require you to scratch your head! Moving on to PHP, it’s definitely not as easy as Python but if you have basic knowledge of C it should stand in good stead. As for Ruby you need to have mastered a few programming languages before find your way with this programming language.

 

3. Usability

 

Usability is a key factor to be considered when choosing languages for use. Considering that web interfaces have a link between the servers and the users, hence a language with high usability is very vital in developing robust, powerful and high performance applications.

 

PHP is a very well documented language with a very classical approach, while Python in its case follows very strict indentation guidelines, but with the easiest ability to read the code. According to most programmers Ruby code is very powerful, with very high usability which may be attributed by the fact that its based on the principle of least astonishment, making it less confusing to the clients.

 

4. Performance

 

The performance and robustness of a programming language is very critical and important. Languages with high performance, responsiveness, enhanced security, and high execution speed are highly desirable. The number of lines required to execute a certain function differ from language to language, and the run time taken to execute also differ. PHP and Ruby have somehow faster run time compared to Python.

 

In terms of security, which is very important so as to safeguard user information. Applications built entirely on PHP are generally considered less secure and more vulnerable to hacking. While platforms built on Ruby and Python tend to have some element of less vulnerability. Another important aspect to consider in performance between PHP, Ruby-on-rails and Python is the database support the web development languages offer. Of the three, PHP offers a very wide database support; Python also provides extensive support but has some few limitations to it. Same case with Ruby-on-rails which offers support but cannot match that of PHP. So based on those parameters, it seems PHP has an upper hand when it comes to the performance criteria we have looked at.

 

5. Development and Update support

 

Continuous development and updates are key in ensuring that a programming language remains adaptive to the current trends, relevant and resolves some of the emerging issues that developers are facing so as to ensure growth. The newer versions come with more evolved functions fit for the fast changing digital world. It is kind of hard to really say which of the three languages receives the fastest updates, but from the literature and facts I have had a chance to review, PHP and Python seem to have very fast development and updates compared to Ruby-on-rails.

 

Also in terms of support, we also consider support from peers, from fellow developers and programmers. Hence, a new aspect comes into play, how easy is it to get discussion forums to assist in solving queries. Between PHP, Ruby-on-rails and Python, which is the most discussed programming language? According to the data, Python enjoys a wide discussion coverage. This in a way enhances support which is critical in web development.

 

6. Employability and potential earnings

 

Programming is not just for fun, the other obvious more significant reason is for financial gains. Hence the aspect of employability comes into play. Of which employability depends on the number of available jobs in the market. Closely linked to this is potential earnings which depends mainly on demand and availability of professional programmers in the specific field. PHP enjoys a wide usage hence has very many job postings and as so, it happens to have very many programmers specialized in the language. Python and Ruby-on-Rails are yet to have dominant presence in the market.

 

 

Coclusion

 

Who won the PHP vs Ruby vs Python war?

 

You can clearly see from the arguments and reasoning above it is difficult to choose one among the three as they come with their own incentives and downsides. As a programmer or business you really should make your choice based on needs and preferences.

 

For creating basic websites PHP would be your ideal pick whereas Python is more of a general purpose language that is equally great for apps, desktop GUIs and crawlers. In case you need to create complex apps with tons of data functions Ruby on Rails surely stand ahead of Python and PHP. To sum up the debate it’s like comparing oranges, apples and guavas and you should pick what you like and what you need.

 

Anyway, don't drop what you've been learning and switch languages just because it doesn't match up qith a 'Top 5' or 'Must Learn in 2021' video/article.

 

 

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