The Good & Bad Side of Python
There is a multitude of programming languages used for application development across the world. Each has its specific features as well as the pros and cons. One of the most favored programming languages today is Python. Python has become one of the few languages that hold relevance in the present, as well as have a high potential for the future. Since it was founded in 1991 by a developer named Guido Van Rossum, Python's reach has grown with each passing day, with several multinationals using it for their application development activities.
While that says a lot about it, there are a few downsides to Python, which often make application developers prefer other languages over it. Through this post, we aim at highlighting the ups and downs of Python such that you can evaluate whether or not to use it for your next project.
First things first – A few popular applications of Python
Before we move to the focal point of this article, let's take a quick look at some applications of Python.
Being an advanced programming language, Python is used in the development of high-level applications like:
- Web Server Programming: Developers can perform server-side programming through Python libraries like Django and Flask.
- Prototyping: Through Python, developers can create quick prototypes to present to the client.
- Game development: It is widely used in the development of games, including GUI, through libraries like PyGame.
- Data science and machine learning: Python is the best and most commonly used language for machine learning and data science. Because it has a great community and a vast range of libraries, Python aids a great deal to application development in the field of data science. It has libraries available for data manipulation, data visualization, data cleaning, and several other related functionalities.
Now that we've established the premise, let's proceed to take a look at the good and bad side of Python.
Key Advantages of using Python
There is a reason that developers choose to code in Python. It has some unique features that make programming much more straightforward. Let's take a look at some features which make working with Python advantageous:
- Easy to read and learn
Python is a simple language to read and learn. It doesn't have complex syntaxes like other high-level languages such as C or C++. Thanks to lesser complexity, Python allows you to think more clearly and focus on logic building.
- Reduces Maintenance Cost
Owing to its simplicity, Python makes application maintenance easier and, thus, reduces the costs involved, which is a massive advantage.
- Avoid the Harms from Software Bugs
Python doesn't let a code bug initiate a segmentation fault within the application. Due to this, it is considered to be a preferred language.
- Wide Applicability
Another essential feature of this language is that it is widely applicable. Engineers, scientists, and mathematicians broadly use it.
- Memory Management
Python has a vast library with memory management capabilities, and this makes it stand out from the other programming languages. It includes a private heap containing all Python objects and data structures and a built-in memory manager to maintain this private heap.
- Straightforward and Speedy
The Python community provides rapid and practical support to users as well as the fast adaptation of code. Some experts like to give Python the moniker, "ready-to-run language" because it only requires simple code to be executed. Enhancing and testing code is much more comfortable with Python.
- Asynchronous Coding
Asynchronous coding uses a single event loop to complete a job in small intervals. Python is very useful for writing asynchronous code because it is easy to write and maintain. It doesn't require any complex research contentions, deadlocks, or any other complexity.
- Integration with Other Languages
Python has libraries like Cython and Jython, which allow integration with other languages like C, C++, and Java to enable cross-platform development. This is one of the main perks of Python as no language is perfect, and sometimes development requires diverse language functionalities that are impossible to have in one language.
- Enterprise Application Integration
Python is the best choice for Enterprise Application Integration (EAI). It makes web application development, invoking CORBA or COM components, and direct calling to and from Java/C++/C easier. Moreover, it offers reliable process control features and implementation of internet data formats and protocols. Further, Python helps users in processing markup languages like XL, executes through the same byte code on advanced operating systems, and can be utilized as a scripting language.
Phew! That was quite an exhaustive list of the plus points that Python has. But let's not see only one side of the coin. Let us be fair and also cast a glance at the minus points of the language in the next section.
Primary Disadvantages of using Python
Along with several pros, Python has some restrictions in the areas of performance and security. The following are some significant disadvantages of using Python.
- Slow Execution Speed
Python is an interpreted language, which means it works with an interpreter, not with a compiler. As a result, it executes relatively slower than C, C++, Java, and many other languages.
- Large Memory Consumption
Python's structures demand more memory space. This language is not suitable to use for development under limited memory restrictions.
- Not suitable for Mobile and Game Development
Python is mostly used in desktop and web server-side development. It is not considered ideal for mobile app development and game development due to the consumption of more memory and its slow processing speed while compared to other programming languages.
- Developer's Restrictions
Once a developer gets used to the ease and simplicity of this language, it becomes difficult for them to switch back to other languages.
- Error Detection in Codes
As Python is executed through an interpreter instead of a compiler, errors and bugs can't be detected during compilation, and that's not good for developers.
- Database Access
Python is considered to be highly insecure and involves security risk. There are some limitations to using Python to access databases. As compared to other popular technologies such as JDBC and ODBC, the Python database access layer is a little underdeveloped and primitive. It is, therefore, not considered suitable if developers are looking for a smooth interaction of complex legacy data.
- Design restrictions
One of the significant issues of Python is its design restrictions. The reason behind this constraint is that Python is dynamically typed.
- Difficult to test
Since it is an interpreter based language, it is tough to run tests on code written in Python. All errors and bugs turn up only during the run time, which makes it very tough to test code snippets written in Python.
There you have it – an unbiased and precise evaluation of Python. Didn't we tell you to look at both aspects before making a decision?
Python is a vastly used programming language. Despite all its disadvantages and restrictions, it is still one of the most preferred and trusted languages for desktop and web server-side application development. It is best suited for machine learning and artificial intelligence and not suitable for mobile development and GUI. While we review its performance, we can conclude that the advantages of Python can overcome its disadvantages. If used in the right way by a skilled developer, Python is among the best choices for coding.
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