Why is Python so Popular despite of being so Slow?


A number of studies have shown that Python is slower than several widely used programming languages including Java and C++. Many programmers replace the default runtime of Python with custom runtime instead of to enhance code execution speed. Some developers even rewrite existing Python code to enhance the application’s performance and speed. But the usage statistics posted on various websites depict that Python is currently more popular than PHP, Ruby, JavaScript and Go. There are also a number of reasons why programmers prefer Python to other programming languages despite it being so slow.

Why Programmers Opt for Python despite Its Slower Speed?

Concise and Readable Application Code

Most programmers nowadays focus on the readability and quality of the code to maintain and update the software easily in future. In addition to being simple and easy-to-learn, Python enables programmers to express concepts with concise and readable code. The syntax rules of Python further makes it easier for beginners to learn and use the programming language without putting extra time and effort.

Multiple Popular Programming Paradigms

Like other programming languages, Python also supports several widely used programming paradigms – object-oriented, functional, imperative and procedural. The programming styles enable programmers to simplify and speedup development of large and complex applications. Also, Python is a general-purpose programming language, and features a dynamic type system and an automatic memory management system. Hence, the developers can easily use Python for developing a variety of software applications.

High-Level Programming Language

Python is a high-level programming language. As a high-level programming language, Python enables programmers to write applications in a flexible way. While writing software in Python, the programmers need to focus only on the actions to be performed or tasks to the completed. The programming language makes it easier for developers to accomplish specific objectives by taking care of many programming tasks.

No Code Recompilation

In addition to being a high-level programming language, Python is also an interpreted language. The programmers can run the Python code directly on any system without compilation. They can further make changes to the code and check the impact of these changes immediately without recompiling the code. The feature makes it easier for developers to make changes to an application throughout the development process without requiring additional time.

Rapid Application Prototyping

The developers nowadays have to create prototype of the software to convey its features and functionalities to various stakeholder before the writing the code. The developers find it easier to build prototype of the application with a simple and flexible programming language like Python. Also, they can simply refactor the Python code to start developing the application directly from its prototype. The simple and rapid application prototyping helps developers to build applications with out-of-box features within a short amount of time.

A Robust Standard Library

Python has a more robust and comprehensive standard library in comparison to other programming languages. It is also designed with built-in features to enable programmers to accomplish a variety of common programming tasks without writing longer lines of code. The developers can take advantage of individual Python library to accomplish common tasks like string operations, working with internet protocols, implementing web services, and managing operating system interfaces quickly and efficiently.

A Variety of Frameworks and Tools  

The developers also have option to extend Python by using a variety of frameworks and development tools. For instance, Python is not designed with built-in web development capabilities. But the programmers can take advantage of several frameworks – Django, web2py, TurboGears, CubicWeb, and Reahl – to build a variety of web applications in Python. Some developers even use frameworks like Kivy to use Python for developing cross-platform mobile app development. These frameworks make Python compete with other modern programming languages, and meet emerging trends in software development.

Build Complex Applications

In addition to being a general purpose programming language, Python also supports major platforms like Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and UNIX. Hence, developers find it easier to run the GUI applications written in Python seamlessly on multiple platforms. They can further speedup and simplify development of GUI applications by using Python frameworks like wxPython and PyGtk. At the same time, Python is used widely by programmers for developing scientific and numeric applications. The developers can use Python frameworks like Scipy, Pandas and IPython to build a variety of scientific and numeric applications efficiently and rapidly.

A Component of LAMP Stack

A mentioned earlier, the programmers can write a variety of web applications efficiently by using robust Python frameworks like Django, web2py, TurboGears, CubicWeb, and Reahl. At the same time, web developers also have option to use Python as an interchangeable component of LAMP Stack, along with Linux operating system, Apache web server, and MySQL database. The flexibility provided by these open source technologies enable developers to build and deploy web applications in a more efficient way.

Test Driven Development

Often programmers have to develop and test a software application within a stipulated timeframe. Hence, many developers adopt test-driven development approach to perform coding and testing simultaneously. The test driven development approach required programmers to write tests before writing the application code. They further need to use the tests to check the usage of the application code and verify the code according to predefined requirements. Unlike other programming languages, Python enables developers to adopt test driven development without any hassle.

Reduce Project Overheads

Most enterprises nowadays opt for open source technologies, frameworks, and tools to custom software applications without investing a hefty sum of money. As Python is an open source programming language, it helps users to curtail software development cost significantly. The Python developers can further use a variety of open source Python frameworks and development tools to build, test, and deploy feature-rich applications without increasing development time and cost.

On the whole, Python, like other programming languages, has several shortcomings. At present, programming languages like Java, C, C++, and C# are more popular than Python. But there are many programmers who prefer Python to other programming languages like PHP, Ruby, JavaScript and Go. They developers still frequently look for innovative ways to enhance the performance and speed of software applications written in Python.