Among the different types of programming languages developed, few of them have proved to be highly beneficial. One such programming language is Python. It is widely used in web development, software testing, and machine learning by more than 17 million developers all across the globe. Additionally, it offers features that support data analysis and visualization. If you are an avid programmer, you might have already used Python. And if you are a beginner, then you might want to consider this programming language as it is beginner-friendly. The syntax of the programming language is one factor that impacts the learning curve.
Luckily, Python has simple syntax rules, making the code readable. It is in fact a common advantage of high-level programming languages. Plus, it is a general-purpose programming language, meaning you can develop web as well as desktop applications. With this overview, now let’s delve into its benefits and drawbacks.
7 Advantages of Python
Python is one of the few languages taught to people entering the programming world. It is quite popular and readable. Here, you can use English keywords, unlike other programming languages, where you have to learn punctuations. Following are some other benefits of using Python.
1. Free and open-source
Python is an open-source and free programming language. The source code is easily available to download from the Python GitHub repo. You can use it freely and even make modifications for specific use or distribution. Its open-source nature encourages collaboration and boosts innovation. Developers across the world can contribute, which improves the quality of the software significantly.
While developing software, we might need to change the system. And if the programming language used for the project is written in assembly language, then you’ll have to make changes to the code to run on another platform. This can be very time-consuming, and you might encounter unexpected errors. Thankfully, there are no such issues with the Python language. The reason is, it is portable. It is a cross-platform language, compatible with most operating systems including Windows, Mac, and Linux. It allows you to write code once and run anywhere, provided you are not using system-dependent features.
3. Interpreted language
On one hand, we have compiled language, while on the other, we have interpreted one. In both languages, the human-readable code is converted into machine-readable code. But what makes a difference here is the way it is done. The compiled languages are directly converted into machine code for execution whereas the interpreted language executes each command. And since Python is an interpreted language, it gives you more flexibility. The other benefit is that it is platform-independent, making execution on different systems simpler.
4. Extensive libraries
Before moving towards the extensive libraries of Python, mentioning its importance would do justice. Basically, the libraries include pre-written codes which can be called into a program to optimize the task. A few of the popular libraries in Python are NumPy, OpenCV, TensorFlow, Theano, and SciPy. Now just imagine by using extensive libraries of Python how much time you can save in development while keeping the codes short. And that’s the reason why it is one of the favorite programming languages of the developer. It allows them to test more ideas using less code. In other words, it is a wonderful tool for prototyping.
Since the launch of Python, it has managed to be relevant. We have already discussed that it is a general-purpose programming language. So, it comes naturally that it supports various types of development. You can use it right from web development to machine learning, making it versatile. Along with object-oriented programming, it supports structure as well as functional programming. These are nothing but different types of programming paradigm, having unique approaches towards organizing code.
6. Improves productivity
Hands down, Python improves your productivity, and we have got supporting points. Firstly, it has extensive resources that support multiple tasks. It allows you to choose your IDE (Integrated Development Environment) to develop projects. Plus, we have got functions and classes which allow code reusability. Lastly, the Python community is made up of wonderful people who actively contribute and release updates. This way, they improve Python and make it relevant.
7. Extensive Community Support
Python has been around for ages. As a result, it has a well-developed community. But the great thing about this community is its readiness to help one another, and the love they share for the language, which has played a significant part in helping Python become what it is today. Due to this extensive support, new developers don’t have to worry about reference materials.
There are enough guides and tutorials, ranging from beginner to expert level, available for help. Hence, unlike other languages, this vibrant community not only helps fledgling developers, but also experienced developers with expert advice and support.
5 Disadvantages of Python
At first, the Python language may seem to be too simple to use. But the problem arises when you get too used to it. Once you get hands-on developing projects using Python, then switching to other programming languages can get difficult for you. Undoubtedly, the easy syntax rules and abundant resources make Python more simple to use. But we cannot turn a blind eye towards other languages, as not all the features are available in Python. Following are the other drawbacks of Python.
1. High memory consumption
The flexibility of Python comes with the downside of high memory consumption. The object data type used here increases memory usage significantly. If you’re working on memory-intensive tasks, then you might want to reconsider your option. Because memory management is difficult when developing large systems in Python.
2. Slow at runtime
No doubt python increases your productivity, but when compared to other compiled languages, you will find it a bit slow. The reason is, it is an interpreted language. So the operation involves more steps than the compiler ones. Also, the compiled knows the variables in the compiled languages. Whereas the interpreter knows it as a Python object. This can take more time to execute.
3. Runtime errors
Apart from being slow at runtime, Python can give runtime errors. Since it is typed dynamically, the data type of the variable can change at any time. This may result in errors when passed through the syntax checks of the interpreter during execution. Then the runtime errors are displayed. A few of the runtime errors are SyntaxError, TypeError, ZeroDivisonError, and ValueError. This is a common disadvantage in object-oriented programming languages like Python.
4. Not ideal for mobile computing
Python is a server-side programming language, and not native to the mobile environment. So the developers mostly prefer programming languages such as Java, Kotlin, and Swift for mobile app development. The existing options make Python less favorable. But this doesn’t mean that you cannot develop mobile applications using Python. There are Python libraries for developing mobile applications. One such library is Kivy, a Python framework for NUI (Natural User interface) development.
5. It is too simple at times
Python is a very simple language. It is easy to understand and apply. But this simplicity is also what has held it back. Developers can’t undertake complex tasks with Python because they have long become complacent with using simple lines of code. And then there is also the extensive library that acts as a crutch. Hence, these developers often find themselves unable to cope with different and difficult languages.