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Java vs. Other Programming Languages: Does Java Come Out on Top?

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Java vs. Other Programming Languages: Does Java Come Out on Top?

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Java is, arguably, one of the most popular programming languages amongst developers and is used to create web applications, customized software and web portals, including eCommerce and m-Commerce solutions.

For many developers, programming languages begin and end with Java.

While there is no doubt Java has been going strong over the years and therefore must be doing a whole lot of things right, it will be a mistake to think there is no other language as good as Java.

The fact is, every language has strengths and weaknesses; yes even Java has a bunch of lacunae that get overlooked by programmers because of the truckload of benefits it brings to the table. As a programmer, it’s important to compare Java with other programing languages so that you are able to choose the best language for a particular project.

This article compares Java to some other commonly used languages and tries to find out whether Java comes out on top.

(Note: We have not drawn comparisons with each and every feature offered by the languages covered in this article. We have identified certain key features offered by them and talk about how they compare with similar features in Java.)

1.  Python

Python is a high-level language which fully supports object-oriented programming. Java on the other hand is not a pure object-oriented language.

Python is a powerful easy-to-use scripting language that excels as a “glue” language because it connects system components, whereas Java is characterized as a low-level implementation language.

One of the key differences between the two is that Python programs are shorter as compared to Java programs. Let’s for instance see the example of ‘Hello World’:

‘Hello World’ in Java:

public class example{

public static void main(String[] args)

{

System.out.println(“hello world”);}

}


‘Hello World’ in Python:

print “hello world”;

Python has rich built-in high-level data types and even supports dynamic typing; this makes it one of the preferred choices of newbie programmers as they have to write less code. But same is not the case with Java, as developers are required to define the type of each variable before using it.

Swift, a programming language created by Apple this year for iOS and OS X development has some Python inspired syntax. Many large organizations like Google, Yahoo, NASA, etc. are making use of Python. If they can trust Python, you can too!

All said and done, Python does have some flaws. Python programs are generally expected to run slower than Java programs making Java a favorable choice for enterprise level application development. Moreover, Java has much better library support for some of the use cases than Python.

2.  C++

Java was basically derived from C++. However, there are a surprising number of differences between the two as the objectives were different for both these languages. C++ was designed mainly for systems programming and extending the C programming language whereas Java was created initially to support network computing.

Though Java is fast as compared to Python, it runs significantly slower than C++.

If we compare the libraries of two languages, C++ standard libraries are simple and robust, providing containers and associative arrays whereas Java has a powerful cross-platform library.

The other crucial difference between the two is – in Java garbage collection happens automatically but there is no automatic garbage collection in C++; all objects must be destroyed manually through the code. There are pretty high chances of a developer forgetting to delete all objects at the end. This leads to an increase in size and memory of the software, which can lead to an increase in costing.

3.  Ruby

Ruby and Java have a lot in common, beginning with the fact that both are object-oriented languages and are strongly typed.

The main difference between the two programming languages lies in the method of executing the code. Java code is first translated into virtual machine code which runs faster than Ruby’s interpreted code.

Just like Python, the biggest reason developers prefer Ruby over Java is that a function that is implemented in Ruby will take fewer lines of code as compared to Java. This makes it easier for Ruby developers to manage the code.

Generally, high traffic sites use Java rather than Ruby. A few years back, Twitter migrated to Java and Scala from Ruby.

Java and Ruby can be used together, and they complement each other. JRuby, basically written in Java is an implementation of the Ruby programming language atop the Java Virtual Machine.

4.  C#

Since the last few years, there is a raging debate in the development community as to which language outperforms - Java or C#.

If security or performance is being considered then both languages receive a similar score. However, Java has a comparative advantage over C# because it is a platform-independent language. It is supported on more operating systems than C# without recompiling code. On the other hand, C# is not quite platform independent as it can run on Windows and Mac OS-X but not Linux.

The two languages are quite similar in syntax and programming style.

Developers should opt for a language that is a perfect fit for their project requirement; the focus should be on using a language that ensures a project can be developed easily and efficiently. For instance, if you are developing an application for Windows desktop or Windows phone then pick C# but if developing for an Android phone, go with Java. 

5.  PHP

PHP is a server side scripting language whereas Java is a general purpose language. These two languages are structurally different and mutually inclusive.

PHP is a weakly typed language whereas Java is a strongly typed language where a programmer is required to declare a data type for each variable and/or value. This may make PHP more attractive to programmers as it does not adhere to fixed standards like Java, but in turn it may complicate certain tasks.

Apart from the structural difference, a major difference between the two is that in PHP, the JVM is restarted after every request; this can result in extra performance problems.

A programmer should choose PHP if he/she doesn’t have a lot of time to complete a project, but should go for Java if the project lays emphasis on features like scalability, performance and security.

CONCLUSION

After comparing Java with five languages, do we now have a clear answer whether Java is superior to all other languages?

The answer is ‘YES’ and ‘NO’.

YES, because it is a low level language that lets you understand the basics by implementing the algorithms in the simplest possible form and at the same time high level enough to implement any task efficiently.

And No, because everything that can be written in Java can be written in other languages (like C#) but the reverse is not true.

Java has evolved a lot since its inception and holds the lead in many areas of software development. So, its survivability is not in doubt.

In fact, die hard Java folks are expected to stick to it for years! However, it is advisable programmers adopt a horses for courses policy while making use of a programming language. The choice of a language should be dependent on their needs and requirements not on the popularity of a language.

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