As two of the most popular programming languages in the world, Python and Java have been used for almost everything. Web development is no exception. If you’re considering becoming a web developer or going to a web development bootcamp, it’s natural to wonder how these languages compare for the tasks you’re likely to be doing.
In this piece we’re going to cover Python vs Java for web development.
Python for Web Development
Web development is the process of conceptualizing, building, and maintaining web sites or web applications. ‘Front end’ tasks are those that directly impact the user, and include considerations like making applications attractive and easy to use. ‘Backend’ tasks are those that most users never see, and involve things like shuttling data between websites and servers.
Being that you can’t turn over a rock without finding a 3rd-party Python library lurking underneath, it’s understandable to ask ‘what are the advantages of Python for web development’. In this sphere, Python is almost exclusively used for backend, server-facing work.
This is almost always done with the popular Python framework Django. With its famous ‘batteries included’ approach to making developers more productive, Django does a lot to make backend web development easier and more efficient.
Java for Web Development
Since its introduction by James Gosling in 1996, Java has grown to be a stupendously successful language, used in data science, machine learning, web development, and almost everything else.
As with Python, Java’s use in building web applications is mostly confined to backend server-facing work. A number of Java ‘flavors’ are available for these tasks, including Java Enterprise Edition, the JavaServer Pages Standard Tag Library, and the JavaServer Pages Standard Tag Library.
Where Python has one single dominant platform for backend development work, Java has many. This means you have lots of options for accomplishing whatever goal you’re currently tackling, but can be a little overwhelming.
Should I Learn Java or Python for Web Development.
The short answer is that you should learn both. Neither Python or Java is going anywhere anytime soon, and if you plan on building a career as a full stack web developer you’ll be well served by learning them both.
If you’re not willing to do that, or want to choose a single technology to focus on right now, then the thing to do is to find out whether Django or one of the Javas is better suited to the project you’re wanting to work on. Though Java and Python are general-purpose languages, sometimes better tools exist in one language than the other.
Alternatively, if you’re planning on applying to a particular company, find out whether they prefer Java or Python for web development, and learn that.
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