Python v PHP: fair comparison?

Larry Bates larry.bates at
Tue Nov 14 23:11:41 CET 2006

walterbyrd wrote:
> I don't know if this is a fair comparison or not. Any comments
> appreciated.
> - Python is more readable, and more general purpose
> - PHP has awful backward compatibility
> - PHP has a lower barrier to entry
> - Most inexpensive web-hosters support PHP, but not Python
> - PHP has far more pre-writen scripts available
> - Newer versions of mod_python require Apache 2.0, which few hosters
> have
> - There is more demand for PHP developers, than Python developers

For the most part you wouldn't ever thing about writing data
conversion programs, GUI applications, Windows services, COM+ objects,
Linux daemons, simple scripts, socket server/client applications,
etc. in PHP (but all can be done in Python).  Web apps are just one of
the many applications that Python can tackle.  PHP is normally
relegated to dynamic web page creation and database interfacing of
a web application.  I've never seen it promoted as a language
that can be used to develop a standalone non-web browser based
application (but I'm sure someone will tell me that it can be used
that way ;-).

I agree that you can use PHP to do some basic Web apps more
quickly and with more general availability in PHP than Python.
I think there is a reason that Java and Python are used to power
the larger application frameworks that I see (e.g. WebSphere,
WebLogic, Zope, etc.).

I find many hosting companies that have mod_python now (this
wasn't the case a couple of years ago).  Hosting costs have
dropped so much during that time that getting Python doesn't
cost much (if any) extra.

I'd be surprised if there was more demand for PHP developers
than Python developers.  Google lists 51 PHP jobs and 168
Python jobs in their internal jobs database (I just did a
quick search).


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