Python vs Java: Key Differences

pythonvsjavaPython and Java are two very different programming languages, but both can be useful tools for modern developers. If you are thinking about learning to program for the first time, then you might find Python easier to master. Python’s syntax is designed to be intuitive and its relative simplicity allows newbies to quickly start writing code for a variety of applications. While Java has a steeper learning curve, it is extremely useful for developing applications that will run on any platform.

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Dynamic vs Static Typing

One of the biggest differences between Python and Java is the way that each language handles variables. Java forces you to define the type of a variable when you first declare it and will not allow you to change the type later in the program. This is known as static typing. In contrast, Python uses dynamic typing, which allows you to change the type of a variable, by replacing an integer with a string, for example.

Dynamic typing is easier for the novice programmer to get to grips with, because it means you can just use your variables as you want to without worrying too much about their types. However, many developers would argue that static typing reduces the risk of undetected errors plaguing your program. When variables do not need to be explicitly declared before you use them, it is easy to misspell a variable name and accidentally create a whole new variable.

Braces vs Indentation

Python is unusual among programming languages in that it uses indentation to separate code into blocks. Java, like most other languages, uses curly braces to define the beginning and end of each function and class definition. The advantage of using indentation is that it forces you to set your program out in a way that is easy to read, and there is no chance of errors resulting from a missing brace.

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Speed vs Portability

The great advantage of Java is that it can be used to create platform-independent applications. Any computer or mobile device that is able to run the Java virtual machine can run a Java application, whereas to run Python programs you need a compiler that can turn Python code into code that your particular operating system can understand. Thanks to the popularity of Java for web applications and simple desktop programs, most devices already have the Java virtual machine installed, so a Java programmer can be confident that their application will be usable by almost all users. The disadvantage of running inside a virtual machine is that Java programs run more slowly than Python programs.

Python vs Java: Which is Easier to Use?

Most programmers agree that Python is an easier language for novice programmers to learn. You will progress faster if you are learning Python as a first language than Java. However, the popularity of Java means that learning this powerful language is essential if you want to develop apps for Android, for example. If you do need to learn Java, then help is at hand: The Ultimate Java Tutorial will walk you through everything you need to know.

What is your opinion on the Python vs Java debate? Which language do you find easier to use? Share your thoughts in the comments below.