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.

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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

Brief overview

Node.js is an open-sourced runtime environment for JavaScript which was released in the year 2009 by Ryan Dahl. It’s a virtual machine that is based on Google’s V8 engine and has in-built compilers, interpreters, and optimizers.

V8 has reputation for its constantly advancing performance and high speed. Google designed this engine in C++ for Google Chrome. The main objective of Node.js is to compile JavaScript functions into the machine code.

Pros

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

Since Node.js is based on JavaScript, you get access to all the JavaScript resources, tech stack, and community. Furthermore, you get the opportunity to build projects with MEAN stack which is a combination of MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, and Node.js.

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.

Powerful ecosystem

Node.js package manager consists of numerous open-source JS plugins. NPM has over 840,000 libraries. Node.js and JavaScript developers use NPM modules in over 97% of web apps.

Cons

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.

Performance issues

Node.js is based on JavaScript syntax which means that its CPU consumption rate is lower for processing tasks. Moreover, while using Node.js for backend runtime, these CPU bond tasks appear quite frequently. Also, the structural inconsistencies of Node.js with a high-load CPU process restrict the developers and affects the performance negatively.

Immature tools

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.

Callback hell

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.

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Python

Brief overview

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.

Pros

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.

Simplicity

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.

Cons

Python’s universality costs it when it comes to web development. Let’s have a look at some other cons of choosing Python.

Low speed

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.

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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.

Architecture

Node.js

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.

Python

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

Node.js

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.

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

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

Node.js

Syntax is somewhat different from other criteria that we discussed before. It’s because it depends on personal preferences. However, Node.js syntax is very similar to the browser’s JavaScript. This means if you’re familiar with JavaScript then you won’t face many difficulties with Node.js.

Python

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.

Scalability

Node.js

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.

Node.js even offers more options when it comes to typing as you can use strongly typed TypeScript or weakly types JavaScript.

Python

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.

Verdict: When it comes to scalability, then Python loses out on some points to Node.js

Learning curve

Node.js

Since Node.js is JavaScript, it can be easily learned. You won’t face much difficulty if you have some basic knowledge of JavaScript. This easy learning curve of Node.js has made it the most popular framework with an impressive score of 51.4% in the 2020 developer survey.

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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.

Python

If you don’t know JavaScript and have to choose to learn between Node.js and Python then you must go for the latter. Python’s simple syntax makes it an easier language to learn. This is the reason why Python is among the most popular languages as per the 2020 developer survey.

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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.

Libraries

Node.js

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.

Python

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.

Error Handling

Node.js

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.

Python

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.?

Universality

Node.js

Node.js is majorly used for the backend development of web applications. And for front-end development, you use JavaScript, so there’s the same programming language for both front-end and back-end.

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

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.

Community

Node.js

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

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.

Extensibility

Node.js

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.

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

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.

Use cases

Node.js

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:

  • Netflix
  • Medium
  • LinkedIn
  • PayPal
  • Trello

Python

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:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Spotify
  • Quora
  • Reddit
  • Dropbox
  • Netflix

Verdict: Both technologies have a wide range of apps. So, you can choose either of the technology as per your needs.

Conclusion

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.

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