PHP vs Python: Which to Use as a Designer?
Designers who are looking to build their skill set should consider learning a coding language. Instead of relying on a developer, it's a great business strategy to be knowledgeable about both the front and back ends of a website. That kind of versatility is a huge bonus in a competitive market. Even if you aren't interested in the finer details of how to work with code, learning the basics of PHP or Python can give you a better understanding of how your work interacts with the back end of a website. Both of these coding languages are great skills to learn, but which one is the best choice for a designer? This head-to-head guide will help you determine the pros and cons of PHP vs Python and also give you a basic understanding of the front and back ends of development.
Designer or Developer?
If you are just beginning your career, or are hoping to switch careers, you may not understand the differences between a designer and developer. In short, a web designer looks at the actual features of a webpage that the customer will view. Designer work with the images and text in order to create a visually appealing and well-organized website that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Web developers, however, are concerned almost primarily with functionality. They work with the nitty gritty details of coding, which few customers will ever see. A programmer's job is to make sure each of the features of a website works properly, and that the designer's ideas are translated into a webpage that is capable of being viewed correctly, both with a mobile app and a web browser. Another way to describe the difference is that a web designer works with the front end, while a web developer works with the back end.
Back End and Front End
These terms refer to both the parts of a website a customer can see and the parts that are not visible. Developers work with the back end of a website with coding languages, including PHP and Python. Designers generally don't need to learn code, as they are working with the front end. However, if you want to be a full stack developer, you must become proficient in both front end and back end design. Even if you aren't interested in back-end development, understanding the basics of coding allows a designer to operate more efficiently and work more effectively with a developer. Choosing PHP vs Python can give you a better advantage. To better understand the role of a developer, you should learn about the two most successful and widely used languages on the web: PHP and Python.
What is PHP?
Whether you recall the old-school definition of Personal Home Page or refer to PHP as Hypertext Preprocessor, this coding language helps you interact with HTML. It is by far the most common coding language used on the internet. It is an accessible language and generally easy to learn. As you learn more complex features of PHP, it is usually necessary to also learn the basics of HTML. Without a general knowledge of HTML, PHP may seem harder to understand. It is a flexible language that can work with different frameworks. Even if your customers do not have PHP, they can still access any code you write because PHP works with HTML code. It's sent to the client as HTML code, which is very versatile. PHP can be used for any operating system.
What is Python?
Another incredibly popular coding language is Python and is also used for website development. It is a slightly easier language to understand, giving you a chance to begin writing coder faster. This language is object-oriented, which makes it a much more understandable language. If you want to learn a coding language very quickly, Python is a great choice. That does not, however, mean that it is overly simplistic. This language also has many complex features, giving a professional developer the tools to make expertly crafted functions and features. Python is remarkably flexible, with plenty of supporting features and other capabilities. What makes Python so unique is the speed with which you can learn the language and begin using it immediately.
Are There Other Languages?
Of course, PHP and Python are far from the only coding languages available to you. While these two are some of the easiest to learn, other great languages exist. It is not just about PHP vs Python. This article is not meant to be comprehensive list of programming languages. If you are interested in discovering all of your options, you should explore other coding languages like C++, HTML, Java and many others. As a designer, you will probably want to pick up a website coding language that is popular and easy to understand. The popularity of PHP vs Python makes them the best two options available.
Comparing PHP and Python
There are a few key areas to compare with PHP vs Python coding languages. While they both offer excellent features that are highly rated, choosing the best language for a designer often depends on the type of project in which you seek work. There are a few areas were Python and PHP compare:
As a designer, your focus is primarily on the front end, so you don’t want to spend years perfecting your ability to write code. These languages are most effective for you if you can learn them quickly, use them simply, and understand them generally. You want to be able to integrate them seamlessly into your current work. While they are both known for being relatively easy to learn, Python’s ability to automate many features makes it the better choice. The interface is easier to understand, and often the commands make more sense. If you are looking for a coding language to being using immediately and effectively, Python is a great start. If, on the other hand, you already have a basic knowledge of HTML, or wish to learn HTML, PHP would be a good choice. It works more directly with HTML code and understanding one will often give you a good grasp on the other. Thus giving you two similar languages in your work arsenal.
Similar to a spoken language, coding languages have many different features that make them both unique and similar to one another. If you are familiar with C programming, PHP will have much similar grammar and feel. Python's syntax gives it an advantage in the pace at which you can process the code, but it allows for errors that are easily overlooked. Python is designed to offer the most common-sense syntax, which often mirrors natural, spoken English. If you struggle to remember complex equations, formulas or other strings of numbers and symbols, Python will be much easier to learn than PHP. If you are comfortable with this type of learning, PHP offers a steady base language with which to build upon. It's a great choice if you are considering becoming a full stack developer because PHP shares a lot of similarities with other back-end languages, like HTML and C.
While learning any coding language can allow you to perform your duties as a designer more successfully, choosing a language that is versatile can give you an advantage in multiple kinds of projects. If you are looking at frameworks or prewritten code used by a large group of people to speed up certain functions, then PHP has an advantage. Both coding languages are open source, but PHP has a larger gathering of practical frameworks that allow you to quickly and easily add features to your website. Once you gain enough knowledge of PHP, it could become a more convenient way to code, due to the many shortcuts available. However, Python has a large number of frameworks as well, and there are more and more frameworks being made specifically for Python.
While Python is a very popular language for web building, it has a wider range of functionality. Python is a popular language for machine learning and AI applications. If you are looking to broaden your programming abilities into areas outside of websites, Python would be a good choice. Or, if you want to dive deeper into web-specific programming and understanding code, PHP has more extensive resources available. PHP can also be used for web apps and different aspects of websites.
Choosing PHP vs Python is often a matter of preference. Both languages offer an incredibly versatile way to understand the back end of a website better. Designers who know how to code using one of these languages will not only be able to collaborate more effectively with developers but are also qualified as full stack developers. Whatever your reason for learning to code, both PHP and Python will provide the tools you need to continue to improve your skill sets. If you are interested in expanding your skills to areas like machine learning, or if you want the most accessible and easy to understand language, then Python is a great choice for you. If you are more interested in HTML and getting into advanced coding that is the most popular choice on the web, then PHP will serve you well.