Python and Java stand as two of the most successful and widely-used programming languages of all time. They’ve been deployed for everything from backend and front end web development to building intricate, bleeding-edge machine learning models.
It’s no surprise then that developers of all stripes have wanted to get the two languages to integrate cleanly. In this piece we’re going to compare Python and Java and discuss technologies for deploying both in the same projects.
Comparing Python and Java
Studying the similarities and differences between Python and Java is instructive for both beginning coders and more advanced ones new to these tools.
I would argue that these days Python is the more flashy and visible of the two. One major difference is that Python is dynamically typed, which means that enforcing the data type of a variable is only done when code actually runs. So you could sneak in an impossible operation that adds the letter ‘a’ to the number 5 and Python won’t complain unless it actually tries to perform that operation.
Python also tends to be very concise and easy to read, making it ideal for beginners. This, along with its extensive suite of tools for scientific computing, have made it a favorite for academics as well.
Java, on the other hand, is statically typed. The program always checks that variable types are correct, whether or not the actual code is run. Compared to Python, Java also tends to be much wordier, which can be a barrier to entry for new coders.
Java scales smoothly up to bigger and bigger applications, which is part of the reason it’s so favored in enterprise applications. And while Python is famous for its vast array of 3rd-party libraries, Java has an enormous collection of these as well.
Can We Integrate Python with Java?
So with all the above having been said, how can we integrate Python and Java?
One thing you could do would be to use a version of Python written for the Java Virtual Machine. Created in the late 1990’s, Jython is an implementation of Python written specifically to integrate into the existing Java platform. If you already know Python, this is a great option for appropriate projects.
A very similar solution is Py4j. Py4j allows code written in Python to access Java objects from the Java Virtual Machine as if they were both sitting in the same interpreter. This makes writing integrated code in both languages possible and easier than it otherwise would be.
Finally, AnalysisRPC is a bridge between Java and Python which utilizes various translation layers to make it possible to call Python algorithms in Java code and vice versa. AnalysisRPC has been integrated into platforms like Eclipse to enable the development of large-scale projects that heavily utilize both Python and Java.
So there you have it, three different ways to integrate two of the most powerful languages available today!