Archive for the ‘Python’ Category
Working with many startups I was wondering recently why Python and Ruby are so popular and common with young and promising startups, especially Scandinavian ones as my experience shows. I am curious if anyone has analyzed the trend towards Python over Ruby with startups? Also I would like to find out what are the advantages of Python over Ruby if they are so?
I think a lot about choices and decisions at startups. Picking the language/platform to use at a startup is one of the harder decisions. Here I would like to mention the fact that most of startups today make their choice toward Python or Ruby over PHP or Java. From what I have read, PHP is just an inferior language to Python and Ruby. Even though a lot of people are using PHP because it is easy to get started, it seems to be easier to develop bad habits with PHP. Why jump on a bandwagon when you obviously know is broken? I’ve come to realize that the main reason why PHP gets into trouble with the purists is that there are just so many ways of doing one thing — it is not that standardized. I think it became the most popular language only because it’s so easy to pick up!
Python/Ruby win over Java on speed of development, and conciseness of code. This generally makes Python/Ruby a better choice for small startups for whom speed to market, and ability to implement new features matters most. Most of the modern sites chose Python when they were small startups. Only later did they have to scale. Websites tend to be horizontally scalable, meaning that for a surprising range of volumes of traffic you can just throw more webservers at it and the bottlenecks will be at other layers (for instance the database).
Searching for relevant information to compare both Pyton vs Ruby languages and analyzing customers’ demand on the software development market I found out that Python appeared to be the more popular choice for startups trying to get a minimum viable product launched and seek out potential venture capital.
This has less to do with the merits of either language and more to do with the philosophies of the frameworks represented by either language. RoR really can’t be beat as a rapid application development framework, and developers discussing Ruby on the web are generally referring to RoR. Django purports to do the same, but the overall philosophy of the python community is more minimalistic – python developers generally prefer to make their own selection of tools such as ORMs, Persistency layers and libraries. A lot of people start Python web development with Django but move on to something more minimalistic like Flask, simply because the community seems predisposed to building its own stack in this way. RoR is more opinionated, and developers who are more predisposed to hitting the ground running, especially in the startup field, often take the Ruby fork in the road.
There is a “coming of age” point for startups coming from RoR or PHP, however. I’ve heard about several companies who had this exact same experience and ended up moving towards something like Python or Scala. I’m not certain this is specific to python, but I can say that as startups grow and become more ambitious, they move into problem domains poorly represented strictly by web frameworks/languages. Search features and data extraction increasingly rely on advanced data mining techniques utilizing things like natural language processing and find they need to reengineer their stack a little to accommodate new ideas. Increasingly I see companies not abandoning their RoR/PHP/Django frontends, but creating separate REST APIs that almost always use bare python or a JVM language to take advantage of more complex computation outside of the HTTP req/response model. Ruby could be used for this kind of offline processing, but the toolkits are just better and more mature in other languages since RoR is so prevalent in the Ruby community and consumes a great deal of the mindshare.
The fact of the matter is that most web startups represent feature sets early on where development speed is the prime concern, and so the language/framework with the biggest potential hire base and best RAD features typically win out early on.
As my personal point of view that no single language can answer every problem satisfactorily, and it is foolish to stubbornly stick to a single language for every case. Nevertheless a lot of our clients stick to Python when starting up their business. Let’s try to see what are the advantages of Python over Ruby?
The two are more similar than they are different, in everything from design to disadvantages to common uses – you can’t really go wrong either way, and shouldn’t base your decision on syntactical differences.
As Ruby developers say, Python’s main advantage has nothing to do with the language’s features. It’s more subjective: it seems that Python has more momentum amongst serious computer scientists. It’s increasingly popular in academic and scientific applications, and a lot of the technologists I respect the most seem to prefer it. By comparison, the Ruby community feels more designer-y and relatively more novice.
What this means is that while the Ruby world has very slick out-of-the-box product solutions, the Python world seems to produce more exceptionally well-written components like Tornado (web framework). Combined with it being used at Google and the potential for stuff like LiveNode to be released as open-source, I’d cast my lot with Python if I were starting today.
Thinking Python may be the best choice of startups, what is your opinion on this?
Looking forward to hearing from you!
When planning the application you have to choose the right programming language to make your application work appropriate. The choice depends on many factors you need to consider. Such as but not limited: you need to think over on what platform the application will run, how easily new features would be added to the existing platform, the code size, performance, support and community etc.
There are various web programming languages and selecting the right one makes a website function properly. In my article I would like to focus on three of them, so called three “P”: PHP, Perl and Python to answer which of these languages is the best one.
Let’s have a look at them and try to make a comparison analysis
PHP – is free of charge open source scripting language and widely used in web environment. The best advantage of PHP is that it is easy to learn and easy to use. It is flexible and used for developing from small websites to giant business and organizational websites. Most common are informative forums, chatting platforms, CRM solutions, e-commerce shopping carts, community websites, e-business, shopping carts.
In terms of efficiency it is executed by the server and server parses the code at its source, executes and send properly formatted html to the client computer. Therefore it increases the speed of PHP applications.
What concerns the advantage of running, PHP is multiplatform language and compatible with all operating systems and platforms.
Being open source language, a large group of PHP developers help in creating a support community, so it’s maintained and when bugs are found, it can be quickly fixed.
A lot of websites including such giants as Wikipedia, Yahoo!, Facebiook, Digg, WordPress and Youtube are written in PHP. The popularity of PHP is based on its simplicity and coding style that is quiet easy to understand.
Nevertheless, the simplicity in developing, precisely principle so called «structure is not important» in PHP has its reverse side, precisely it’s hard to maintain for large applications since it is not very modular.
Also it’s weak in terms of security since its open source, all people can see the source code, and if there are any bugs it could be used to explore the weakness. About 30% of all vulnerabilities listed on the National Vulnerability Database are linked to PHP. The last summary on vulnerabilities you may find following the link: http://web.nvd.nist.gov/view/vuln/detail?vulnId=CVE-2013-0427
Perl –refer to all purpose languages. Perl was developed as a text editor for converting or processing large amounts of data for tasks such as creating reports. Nowadays it intended improvements and suited for web development, game programming, GUI development, popular among system administrators etc.
The Perl reusable code structure provides flexibility in apps development and at the same time creates the problem of code reading after. As there are so many ways to do, there are a lot more ways to mess up in what you’ve done. If the code was written without proper care, the reading could even take 6 months.
So from one hand Perl is a good language for small programs because of its messy syntax structure it’s hard to write and maintain large programs. On the other hand if you’re planning to develop big web application you need to consider good coordination between developers work on discussing the code stile, mentoring and managing work in the team.
In respect of vulnerability Perl takes the second place – 9.4%. I assume that it’s not bad taking into consideration its complexity and its long history.
It has fallen out of popularity lately a bit because of the slow development of Perl 6. Most people still use Perl 5.
Python – is considered to be very elegant programming language. It’s general purpose, high level programming language. On the one hand Python’s syntax and semantics are minimal; on the other it has complex standard libraries.
Python supports multiple paradigms: object-oriented, imperative and functional programming styles and has features including fully dynamic type system and automatic memory management.
In comparison with Perl Python is easy to read language. And its key idea is vice versa “there should be one—and preferably only one—obvious way to do it”. It means that the code written by one developer could be easily developed and supported by the others. Besides to delimit blocks Python uses whitespace indentation, rather than curly braces (C, C++, ….) or keywords (Delphi).
Python is often used as a scripting language, but is also used in 3D animation (Maya, Softimage XSI, Blender) and image editors (GIMP, Inkscape, Scribus, Paint Shop Pro). It was also used for writing several video games.
Python is actively used by Google, Yahoo!, CERN and NASA. But it has problems with popularity, precisely with spreading. The reason is that it’s less simple than PHP. Working with Python you need to learn numerical libraries. So that’s why some people prefer choosing PHP instead of Python. But only the betrayed ones could explain why they choose Python, the answer is easy the development on Python is faster on 30% and his vulnerability consists only 0.67% against 36% of PHP.
PHP at first sight seems to be a leader in this so called comparison race. It’s simple, easy to learn and efficient for building small and middle size websites. Going further with analysis in terms of scalable large system it turns out that here Python will perform better than PHP. The reason is in readability that makes Python easier to maintain and extend. Besides, Python is object-oriented. PHP is not. Moreover, Google supports Python with its Google App Engine where web sites can be hosted on Google’s server for free. What concerns Perl, analysis showed that it’s simple programming language with cross platform running and open source modular architecture that provides to develop interesting things. If the task is to perform administration scripts Perl is much better to use here than PHP.
After the analysis it follows that the choice any of three P is a good choice. Also it means that for a certain purpose there is a right tool to choose. Besides the analysis showed that all three “P” have in common the following:
• are cross platform;
• have open source code;
• have well written documentation;
• have large user communities;
• extend libraries and big amount of code written;
• have high-level frameworks (PHP – Symfony, php.MVC; Python-Django, CherryPy, Pylons; Perl -Catalyst, CGI::Application, Gantry);
So I hope that summary based on technical analysis we made could help to make a right decision in future web projects you might have.
Thank you for your attention and if you have anything to add, please feel free to leave a comment.
It’s surprising that in our blog we have never written about Python frameworks and Python itself either. So, I’ve decided to help out the omission :)
When choosing a framework for site development you have many things to consider. If the criterion is a programming language, for Microsoft and C# followers the choice is clear – ASP.NET. Those who are in love with Ruby don’t have to think too much either – Ruby on Rails will be their choice. It’s much more complicated for Python, PHP and Java developers to make up their mind: the quantity of frameworks here is tremendous.
Firstly, I want to underline the pluses of Python frameworks in general:
- Usage of Python language. I’m sure lots of programmers are pretty tired of praising Python. But to write a site on Python is really faster, cheaper and more pleasantly than on other languages.
- Wide choice. Frameworks abundance can be scaring only for beginners. A professional always welcomes the freedom of choice, as the chance to find what you really need only increases. Besides, choice entails competition, and healthy competition leads to quality improvement of every framework.
- Rapid development. New frameworks emerge constantly, and their precursors either give their way to the younger ones, or continue their struggle for leadership: bugs are fixed, new features are implemented. It differentiates Python community from, Ruby community, for instance, which is represented mostly by Ruby on Rails. Due to the lack of new ideas we can see some standstill in Ruby on Rails development.
- Opensource. They say using quality software on a legal and free basis is really cool :)
For now there are several dozens of Python frameworks. Among them are famous Django, Pylons, Turbogear, and some other interesting ones, as Zope, Twisted, CherryPy.
Today I want to make a short review of the more popular Python framework – Django.
Django was created specially for convenient news site development of The World Company. It had been developed since 2000, but to the general public it was presented only in the middle of 2005. The framework got its name after a Belgian jazz guitarist and composer Django Reinhardt.
Django site is built from one or several applications, which are recommended to be made alienable and interconnected (unlike Ruby on Rails, for example). One of the main Django advantage is excellent documentation, and, I suppose, the biggest community among all the Python frameworks.
When getting acquainted with Django, firstly, his built-in administrator interface wins over. It provides convenient work with the content of a written site. You should change the settings a little bit, then following the link http://127.0.0.1:8000/admin you can start the page through which it is easy to manage the content (for example, to look through the data base content and change it).
Django architecture is a bit different from classic MVC. Controller of the classic model MVC approximately corresponds the level, which is called “View” in Django. Presentation View logic is realized on the level of Templates. Due to this Django level architecture is frequently called “Model-Template-View” (MTV).
For models Django provides an abstraction level which frees from the necessity of writing SQL-requests for getting/saving data to the database. All the tables, that are used in the application, are written as classes in a separate file models.py. Then with the help of these classes methods there happens manipulation of the tables content in the code. Thus, work with database becomes fully object-oriented. Django supports work with the main databases (PostgreSQL, SQLite3, MySQL, Oracle).
Also, it is worth noting about a very flexible way of urls reflection on the application function – with the help of regular expressions.
While developing an application it is convenient to use built-in server. It automatically determines the changes in the files of the project source code and reboots. The result from changes made to the code immediately displays on a browser web-page, but it is not recommended to use it as a working one, as it is single-threaded and do not provide any security measures. For these purposes you will have to set a normal server (Apache, for example).
To be honest till the very end, I will enumerate Django disadvantages as well:
- Though the template language is simple, still it is not very “pythonic”
- Not very convenient work with AJAX
- There can emerge some difficulties while replacing components (if you are in bad relations with regular expressions, which are used widely in urls reflection, you may want to use another dispatcher). It is widely believed that Django developers quite often invent bikes. Though Django allows doing this easily and quickly.
Although Django is one of the most popular Python frameworks, do not forget that framework is just an instrument; the choice should depend on the task set firstly, and only after that on its popularity.
Thank you for consideration. As usual, I would be happy to see your comments :)