Choosing a right programming language is of utmost important when you’re looking to develop an app. And that’s why many business owners and developers find themselves in a dilemma when they have to choose between Node.js and Python as the right backend technology for their project.
If you’re also in the same dilemma, then don’t worry as we will compare both of these backend technologies in great detail which will help you to make a better decision.
But before we dive deep into the comparison let’s have a look at the brief overview and pros & cons of Node.js and Python.
Node.js was built by keeping web development in mind, that’s why it addresses the majority of the challenges associated with web development. Let’s have a look at the pros of choosing Node.js.
Rich tech stack
Flexible for microservice development
Node.js has a package manager with three modules which enables developers to edit multiple modules at the same time. This is absolutely perfect scenario for microservice architecture. Big names like Netflix and PayPal have leveraged Node.js to switch from monolith to microservices.
This transition to microservices also helps the companies to break the functionalities into smaller chunks which results in better maintenance quality, improved testing, and also allowing the team to update numerous features simultaneously.
Node.js has not only inherited advantages from JS but also inherited its disadvantages. Let’s have a look at the cons of choosing Node.js.
Less popular modules of NPM lack documentation, have bugs, and are poorly built. This is mainly because Node.js is open-source which means that many of its updates don’t undergo any strict quality check.
To track finished tasks, Node.js uses callbacks. However, as the project scales in size and the number of active processes increases and with that increases the callbacks. Thus, there’s a possibility that the developer might get lost in callbacks and miss important technical debts and bugs.
Python is a high-level programming language released in 1991 by Guido van Rossum. Python was developed by Google and it mainly runs on Google’s App Engine.
The App Engine enables you to develop web applications with Python. Furthermore, it also allows you to reap the benefits of several tools and libraries that many Python developers use.
This abundance of tools and libraries makes Python an ideal programming language for businesses that need to develop applications for uncorrelated use cases.
Although Python is not specifically meant for web development, it does have some advantages. Let’s have a look at the pros of choosing Python.
Syntax of Python is simple and high conversational. This makes codes written in Python highly readable.
AI and ML learning opportunities
Python offers artificial intelligence and machine learning opportunities since it has many in-built AI libraries such as Tensorflow, Pylearn2, and Scikit.
Multiple spots for library hosting
Multiple hosting providers offer native support for Python code along with allowing integration of additional plugins and APIs. There are many platforms that you can use for this purpose like Digital Option, AWS, Heroku, TMDHosting, A2 Hosting, and many other platforms.
Python’s universality costs it when it comes to web development. Let’s have a look at some other cons of choosing Python.
Python has many abstraction layers which consume additional time to process. This slows down Python’s speed in managing server-side operations.
Mobile development challenges
Python is not a good choice when it comes to hybrid development. Similarly, it’s not native iOS or Android language. This makes it challenging to use Python for mobile development.
However, you can adapt Python for mobile development with the use of platforms and frameworks but its performance will be slow.
Node.js Vs. Python: A detailed comparison
Here, we are going to compare both the backend technologies on the basis of 9 criteria. This will give you a clear idea as to which technology is better and in which criteria. So, without any further ado, let’s begin.
Node.js is a run-time environment with server-side asynchronous programming. It also means that the input-output functionality is never blocked due to any process which is still underway. The architecture for Node.js consists of a single-thread event loop.
This loop when paired with the Node.js’s non-blocking nature enables it to manage thousands of concurrent connections and that too without incurring thread context switching. This is what makes Node.js perfect for real-time applications.
The architecture for Python is in stark contrast to that of Node.js, it’s because Python doesn’t come with in-built support for asynchronous programming. Furthermore, it doesn’t support multithreading. However, you can use libraries like asyncio to create asynchronous event-driven apps.
Verdict: Node.js clearly emerges as a winner as it offers event-driven architecture.
Speed & Performance
The non-blocking architecture as discussed earlier makes its execution process much faster and simpler. Furthermore, with Node.js, you can execute codes outside of the web browser.
This makes an app running on a web browser process at a faster speed and exhibit high performance on the efficiency metrics. This also enables the app to use features like TCP sockets which otherwise wouldn’t have been available in the browsers.
Read More: What makes Node.js so fast?
Node.js development also enables caching fetched data which makes it faster than Python web development. Also, Node.js takes lesser loading time and is responsive.
Python’s innate architecture majorly restricts multithreading which ultimately affects speed and performance. Since the process doesn’t run in parallel, it slows the overall processing speed. Even though Python’s syntax is easy to learn and execute, it’s still not fast enough for applications to recall data from the webserver.
Verdict: If you’re looking for high speed and performance then you must go for Node.js.
Syntax is considered Python’s biggest strength. It’s because developers need to write the fewer amount of lines of code as compared to that of Node.js. Python’s syntax is free of curly brackets and simpler.
This makes coding in Python much easier. It even makes it easier to debug and read. Python’s codes are so easily readable that even a client with basic technical background can understand them.
Verdict: This round belongs to Python due to its easy-to-understand syntax.
Node.js helps you to create a set of microservices instead of creating a huge monolithic core. With these microservices in place, you can communicate with a lightweight mechanism along with running its own process.
The development process in Node.js is extremely flexible as you can easily add the extra modules and microservices. Furthermore, you can vertically and horizontally scale the Node.js web app. For horizontal scaling, you have to add new nodes to the system. Similarly, for vertical scaling, you have to add extra resources to your existing nodes.
Python doesn’t support multithreading which is essential for scaling the app. It’s mainly because it uses Global Interpreter Lock (GIL). Even if there are multiple threads present, GIL doesn’t allow the Python interpreter to perform tasks simultaneously by ensuring that they run only one thread at a time.
Since Python’s memory management is not thread-safe, it’s compelled to use GIL despite its negative effects on performance.
Python is also dynamically typed. Generally, dynamically typed languages are not preferred when it comes to large projects. This is because it becomes excessively complex as it grows.
Read More: Develop Python application with Peerbits
Verdict: When it comes to scalability, then Python loses out on some points to Node.js
Even installing Node.js is simple. However, it does come with some advanced topics. For an instance, you might find it difficult initially to understand its event-driven architecture. Developers need some time to understand and master it. Event-driven is known for boosting app performance.
Node.js has a low entry threshold which indicates that there are many unskilled Node.js developers in the market. It also means that it might be hard for you to find a job as the market is so cramped.
On the other hand, if you’re the business owner or the employer, then you might face the problem to find a high-quality specialist.
Furthermore, it takes fewer lines of code to write a certain function in Python as compared to that of Node.js. However, this might not always be the case as the length of code depends upon paradigm and programming style.
Python is also whitespace and indentation sensitive which helps you to learn how to indent your code in a proper way. However, this also comes with a con. This is because even a single misplaced bracket or indentation mistake can easily break your code. This might make it difficult for the new developers to find the mistake and subsequently troubleshoot it.
Verdict: It’s difficult to choose a winner between the two since both languages are easy to learn. So, it majorly depends on your personal preference.
Node.js npm (Node Package Manager) is responsible for handling the packages in Node.js. Node Package Manager manages more than 1.3 million packages which make it the largest repository of packages in the world. It also shows how extensible it can be. You can find all the packages on npm with a simple search.
Libraries and packages in Python are managed by pip, which is the default package installer for Python. The number for Python is also quite staggering as it has over 220 thousand packages spread across a diverse range of categories like image processing, calculation, data science, etc.
Verdict: Node.js is a clear winner here due to its larger number of packages.
It’s difficult to avoid errors when you’re writing codes. That’s why the feasibility and transparency of identifying errors become important for a programming tool.
Node.js is really good when it comes to efficient error management. It has a top-notch command in identifying exceptions that occur at the time of code application.
Read More: Build a Node.JS Error-handling System.
Python is better than Node.js when it comes to error handling. This is mainly due to the fact that it takes less amount of time in troubleshooting bugs and errors as compared to that of Node.js.
No matter, whatever you choose between Python and Node.js, the error management won’t suffer for your website development.
Verdict: Python is clearly better at handling errors as compared to Node.js.?
You can use Node.js to develop hybrid mobile apps, IoT solutions, and web apps. Node.js is also cross-platform, which means that you can create a single application that can operate on Mac, Linux, and Windows. Node.js’s universality can result in the rapid reduction of project costs as only one team of developers can do every task.
Python can also be used for front-end and back-end development since its full-stack. Moreover, very much like Node.js, Python is also cross-platform. It means that applications developed on Windows can also run on Mac and Linux.
Python is pre-installed in both Python and Linux. However, for Windows, you must install the Python interpreter.
Python is a good choice when it comes to desktop or web development; however, it’s not that of a good choice for mobile computing. This is the reason why mobile applications are usually not written in Python.
Verdict: When it comes to universality then both Python and Node.js are neck to neck.
One might think that since Node.js is a newer form of technology so it might not have a big community. However, that’s not true. The Node.js community is quite large and active with experienced Node.js developers from across the world.
As a business owner, you won’t face any major difficulties to find and hire Node.js developers. Similarly, as a developer, you can rely on the support of fellow Node.js developers.
Python is comparatively older than Node.js so it’s bound to have a larger community of two. It has contributors ranging from the junior to senior level. There’s no dearth of talent whatsoever when it comes to Python. This makes it extremely easy for businesses to find and hire Python developers.
Furthermore, the active participation of Python developers also leads to the overall improvement of the language.
Verdict: Both Node.js and Python share a point since both they have great community support.
If we talk about extensibility, then Node.js scores quite well. It’s because it can be easily extended, customized, and integrated with various tools. You can use in-built APIs to extend it and developing DNS and HTTP servers.
Read More: Create a Secure REST API in Node.js
You can also integrate it with Babel which enables front-end development with older versions of Node.
Similarly, Log.io is helpful for troubleshooting and project monitoring. And Jasmine is helpful in unit testing. You can also use Webpack, PM2, and Migrat for module bundling, data migration, and process management.
You can also use frameworks like Meteor, Express, Hapi, Koa, Restify, Nest, Fastify, etc to extend Node.js.
Python was introduced way back in 1991 and since then many frameworks and development tools have been created.
For example, with Python, you can integrate Sublime Text which is a popular code editor. This editor also offers syntax extensions and many other additional editing features.
There’s also Robot Framework which is used for test automation. Furthermore, there several web development frameworks like CherryPy, Django, Pyramid, Flask, and Web2Py.
Verdict: If you’re going for extensibility then you can go for either Node.js and Pythons as they both are easily extensible.
The runtime environment of Node.js makes it ideal for those applications that need a constant connection between the browser-side app and the server. For example, a chatbot won’t work properly if it’s not connected seamlessly with the server.
In such a scenario, it won’t be able to respond to customer queries efficiently. So, if the real-time transmission is your priority in the project then you must go for Node.js.
It’s also important to note that Node.js can be used between client-side and server. This reduces the deployment time considerably and makes it easy for teams to maintain the code while coordinating.
Many companies who have frequent interactions between client-side application and cloud server choose Node.js for its efficient processing. There are many well-known companies that use Node.js, some of them are mentioned below:
Python has a bunch of talent mainly because of its uncomplicated syntax. This is one of the reasons why giants like Facebook and Google extensively use Python to develop their technologies. Python is also used as the default language for many popular data science training courses.
Furthermore, Python’s popularity drives its usage and hence more people try to learn it. You can also build and deploy MVP quite efficiently by leveraging its rich libraries.
For an instance, Reddit was written using Lisp; however, the entire platform had to be rewritten with Python in the year 2005. This was possible only because of Python’s extensive list of libraries and features.
Also, with a Python interpreter, you can execute codes effectively.
There are many well-known names that use Python. Some of them are:
Verdict: Both technologies have a wide range of apps. So, you can choose either of the technology as per your needs.
As we mentioned at the very start of the article that it’s very difficult to choose between Node.js and Python as both have top-notch features and benefits on their side. That’s why becomes important to know that what features or benefits you are looking for.
You can list out all the features that you would need for your project and then can compare both the technologies accordingly. The technology which proves to be a handier for your project should be your choice.
For example, if you’re looking to develop real-time applications, heavy-load apps, eCommerce apps, content management apps, and other solutions which depend on the speed of the processing then go for Node.js.
Similarly, if you’re looking to develop applications for scientific solutions, government projects, and big data solutions where easiness, stability, and consistency are top priorities, then you must go for Python.
Even then, you might get confused and that’s where Peerbits steps in. Peerbits is a leading software development company that has experienced and skilled programmers for both Node.js and Python.
You can reach us with your project requirement and we will understand your project requirements and will also guide you as to which technology you must go for.
We also offer offshore development services where you can hire Node.js developers or hire Python developers as per your project requirement.