Python vs JavaScript: Most Important Differences

Python vs Javascript

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Both Python and JavaScript are two of the most popular programming languages as of now. Although both are object-oriented programming languages, their scopes are different. Python and JS have a lot in common but with some significant differences.

There are ample job opportunities available for both Python and JavaScript developers. Hence, choosing one of the two programming languages for starting a coding career is a good option.

From the perspective of getting started, learning Python is much easier than JavaScript. In fact, one of the main design objectives of the Python programming language is being easy to understand and implement.

Before we go ahead and start enumerating the various dissimilarities between Python and JavaScript, let’s first get a brief introduction about the two competitors.

Python – One of the Fastest Growing Programming Languages

Python is an interpreted, high-level, strongly-typed programming language featuring dynamic semantics and object-oriented design. It is meant to be easy to read as well as easy to implement.

Python can also serve as a scripting language to the likes of Perl and Ruby for creating web applications. The beauty of Python is that it allows programmers to use a range of programming styles for developing complex as well as simple programs.

Moreover, Python is a ‘batteries included programming language,’ which simply refers to the wide range of modules it comes with. Programming paradigms supported by Python are:

JavaScript – The Beloved Programming Language of the Web

JavaScript or JS is an object-oriented programming language widely used for creating dynamic web pages. It is standardized in the ECMAScript language specification. Other than OOP, JS also provides support for two other programming paradigms, namely functional and imperative.

JS is typically used inside a web browser for providing dynamic functionality that can’t be achieved using CSS and HTML. JavaScript also provides support for building standard web applications with date, text, and regular expressions.

Although initially, JavaScript was meant for front-end development, it is now also used for backend development. Hence, JavaScript offers full-stack development. In fact, with Node.js, JS can be used for developing standalone desktop applications too.

Learning JavaScript doesn’t necessitate for having a good understanding of the Java programming language. Nonetheless, the same can surely help to ease the learning process.

Python vs JavaScript: A Head-to-Head Comparison

Arrays, Lists, and Tuples

JavaScript provides support for arrays as inbuilt data types. Although there is no built-in support for arrays in Python, there is a workaround for implementing arrays in Python. This is achieved using lists, the closest thing to arrays that Python has to offer.

Python lists are similar to another data type available in the programming language, tuples. The most important difference between a list and a tuple is that while the former is mutable, the latter is immutable.

Attributes and Properties

JavaScript objects have properties that can be composed of underlying attributes. It lets you define a property. In Python programming language, the descriptor protocol, where getter and setter functions are used, allows defining an attribute.

Code Blocks

JavaScript makes use of curly brackets for defining code blocks. Python, on the other hand, uses indentation for defining code blocks. While JavaScript has ‘;’ that serves as the statement terminator, Python has newline.

Encoding Format

JavaScript should be encoded as UTF-16. Also, there is no inbuilt support in the programming language for manipulating raw bytes. Unless an encoding format is specified, Python source code is ASCII by default.

Function Arguments

Python raises an exception in case a function is called with incorrect parameters. Moreover, it accepts some additional parameter passing syntax.

JavaScript doesn’t care whether a function is called with correct parameters or not. This is because, by default, any missing parameters in JS get ‘undefined’ value. Moreover, if there are any additional arguments then they are treated as special arguments by JavaScript.

Hash Tables

The Python programming language features inbuilt hash tables, called dictionaries, sets, et cetera. Unlike Python, JavaScript has no provision for built-in hash table support in any form.

Implicit Conversion

Python is a strongly-typed programming language i.e. no implicit data type conversion happens in the programming language. Contrary to this, JavaScript is weakly-typed and thus, offers implicit data type conversion.

Inheritance

Both Python, as well as JavaScript, provides support for inheritance. However, the difference lies in their types. While JavaScript uses a prototype-based inheritance model, Python makes use of a class-based inheritance model.

Another distinction between Python and JavaScript in terms of inheritance is that Python doesn’t have a way to inherit from instances, while JS does have.

Mobile Development

In addition to front-end and backend development, JavaScript is also a good option for mobile development. However, Python is not a good fit for developing mobile applications.

Modules and Libraries

Python is known as a ‘batteries-included programming language’ because it comes with several modules. Moreover, it has numerous libraries for accomplishing data analytics, machine learning, and scientific computing.

On the contrary, JavaScript comes with a fewer number of modules, such as date, JSON, and math. Additional functionality for JS is available through the host environment, which is typical, a web browser and infrequently, something different like an operating system.

Mutability

Data types in Python are divided into mutable and immutable types. For example, the set is a mutable data type, while the list is an immutable data type.

Mutable objects are those whose values can be changed once they are assigned values. Contrarily, immutable objects can’t change values. Unlike the Python programming language, JavaScript has no concept of mutability.

Numeric Types

In JavaScript, you have only floating point variables. On the contrary, the Python programming language features several varieties of numeric data types, such as int, fixed-point decimal, and float.

Object Access

For each method, Python has a self-argument as the first argument. JavaScript, on the contrary, has the ‘this’ method for accessing an object.

Procedural Programming

Both Python and JavaScript follow a multi-paradigm approach i.e. they provide support for more than one programming paradigms.

Both Python and JavaScript offer functional, imperative, and object-oriented approaches to programming. However, Python has several aspects of a procedural programming language while JavaScript doesn’t.

REPL (Read-Eval-Print-Loop)

You get REPL with the installation of Python on your system. However, no built-in REPL is available with JavaScript. This is because JS mostly runs inside a browser. Nonetheless, we can have REPL for JavaScript by installing Node.js.

Scope

JavaScript is ideal for building a website or native applications. Python, on the other hand, is the ideal pick for tasks concerning data analytics, machine learning, and math-intensive operations.

Conclusion

To sum it up:

  • Each language has it use cases, however, you can achieve almost anything with Python that you can with JavaScript.
  • Both programming languages share a lot of aspects, such as following a multi-paradigm approach and being lexically scoped. At the same time, there are several differences between the two that must not be ignored.
  • There is no scarcity of libraries and extensions available to Python and JavaScript for achieving more than what is offered as inbuilt features. Although both have several job opportunities available, Python has a better market presence and is also easy to learn.

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