Java vs Python

Andrew Cooke andrew at
Mon May 15 07:16:53 EDT 2000

In article <KzLT4.3373$Kc3.20912 at>,
  "Huy Do" <huy at> wrote:
> I would just like to know how serious python is taken in the IT
industry and
> how it compares to something like Java.

In the company I work for, the two languages are both used for different
(but overlapping) areas.  Java is used for the product; Python is used
for scripting tasks (automating builds, etc).

This strikes me as quite sensible.  The real reason is probably
historical, but I feel Java is better for large projects because:

- near-static typing helps enforce interfaces
- various language constructions (eg Interfaces) help enforce a modular
- easier to hire for
- programmers used to Java code, which tends to be more explicit (long
  winded and tedious if you like), and so easier to understand

On the other hand, Python is better for scripts because:

- compact
- flexible (can use functions as well as objects; objects blend nicely
  into the general synax using __ methods)
- quicker to write
- easier to modify

Note that the argument above doesn't mean Java is better - in many ways
it is worse, but safer/more common.  Cue arguments about blunt knives

Performance is not critical in the software I am involved in - provided
the speed is reasonable, reliability is more important.  Otherwise, I
guess we'd use C.

> For example
> If a web applicatoin was written in both Java and Python,
> which would companies prefer ?

Do you mean as a product to use or develop?  If we were going to use
something I don't see how the language is that important if the product
does what we want at the price we want.

> 1. Which is more maintainable ?

I'd argue for Java because of the arguments above.

> 2. Which is more scaleable ?

This seems more a matter of design, and both languages offer similar
features.  But I have no experience of large Python projects.

> 3  Which is faster eg. Java servlets or Python CGI with mod_python ?

No idea.

Hopefully people involved in large Python projects will put counter
arguments forwards...

Andrew (personal opinions - my bosses may disagree)

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