NodeJs Vs Python: What Backend Development Tech Stack to Choose?

Python and NodeJs both are very popular backend development tech stacks but choosing one out of the two requires deep understanding. Let’s find out which one suits your needs best by learning the pros and cons of each.

5 min read
Oct 25, 2021

Despite having years of experience in backend development, many programmers and development firms fail to make suitable technology decisions. Selection of backend development tech stack requires upfront decisions. Without in-depth knowledge of the project, it becomes hard to come to any conclusion.

Many times, developers and even product owners go through the common dilemma of choosing the best backend development tool or language out of NodeJs and Python. However, making this choice is vital to determine how the software application will operate, function, and scale up to meet user demands.

Experts at ashutec present our opinion on both the backend technology, explain their advantages and drawbacks along with providing you with criteria to choose between the two to end the dilemma forever. So, let’s get started:

Criteria for Selecting Backend Tech-Stack from NodeJs vs Python

  • Type of a Project: What kind of software project are we dealing with here matters a lot. Types of software apps like database, business app, SaaS, multimedia/streaming app, graphic app, and others define the nature and intensity for backend development.
  • Product to Deliver: The kind of software product i.g. static or interactive, data-heavy, or interface-focused to be delivered dictates the backend tech stack. Here, competitor analysis, market trends, and user expectations must be taken into consideration.
  • Available Resources: Backend tech stack choice depends on the skills set and technologies worked upon previously by development/outsourcing providers.
  • Performance Requirements: When it comes to performance, no tool is perfect to meet all ends. The ideal choice here is what packs high security, speed, responsiveness, interactivity, and many others. Not all technologies deliver everything, thus, we must meet at the middle ground and pick out the one that’s higher on our priority list.

Now, we know the criteria, let’s move on to understand each technology with its pros and cons to get a better perspective.

Python as a Backend Technology

As per Jetbrains’ Python Developers Survey, 85% of the developers use Python as the main programming language. And around 40% use it in combination with JavaScript, which illustrates how common and powerful Python is for web backend development.

Another great thing about Python is its syntax and ecosystem fit well with the current market demands. Still, there are certain limitations and many more great things in store, so let’s have a look:

Pros of Python

Quick Build & Deployment

Leveraging Python’s dynamics and object-oriented syntax, developers can quickly code out complex-level apps easily. This enables businesses with faster deployment and time-to-market for their web apps. Further, add-ons, libraries, and other packages offer nearly everything needed for simple to complicated computations.

Simple Syntax

Compared to other programming languages, Python has a simple syntax and uses fewer code lines for low code size. Not only that, Python’s code is worded simply and English keywords are used more frequently than mathematical annotations, which makes it easy to read and understand.

Huge Fanbase & Ecosystem

Released back in 1991, Python has gained a huge loyal fanbase due to its ability to resolve multiple development challenges. Moreover, the addition of new packages and add-ons every once in a while keeps the language relevant today even though it has an old ecosystem.

This makes Python the most-suited language for developing apps for AI, ML, data science, and many other fields as well. Tools such as Scikit-learn, Torch, TensorFlow, NLTK, Gensim, Django, Flask, and others are excessively used for machine learning, language processing, and web development.

Cons of Python

Python offers great advantages, however, it’s still not perfect in certain areas. Here are the few drawbacks of Python:

Slow Speed

Python is great for everything else, still, it lacks in many aspects such as performance. So, it might not be the first choice if your goal is to get the speed and impeccable performance out of your apps. NodeJS performs well in this aspect and this article from Chad Dotson perfectly outlines the same.

So, if you want your application to handle multiple operations, Python is not the right choice to offer speed, performance, and user experience.

Low Performance for Mobile

The speed and performance of Python-based apps are more problematic when it comes to mobile. Since the performance of web apps is low on desktops, it’s likely to take a hit on mobile as the backend by design is slow. Further, Python doesn’t go well with the native components of the mobile, which makes it more sluggish.

NodeJS as a Backend Technology

In contrast with Python, NodeJs is a JavaScript-Based runtime environment used for server-side development. The framework uses asynchronous, event-driven input and output and Google Chrome’s V8 engine. This allows NodeJS to process multiple concurrent requests simultaneously without waiting for other processes to end.

And the fact that NodeJS can be utilized for backend and frontend development of web applications is just a cherry on top. It has just been over a decade since the launch of NodeJS, still, it has been adopted by top companies like Amazon, PayPal, Netflix, eBay, AliExpress, LinkedIn, Reddit, etc.

That said, let’s have a look at the pros and cons of NodeJS as a backend technology:

Pros of NodeJS

Performance

As mentioned earlier, NodeJs offers brilliant performance over Python thanks to its non-blocking input and output. The framework is capable to handle multiple requests and operations simultaneously on one server. Google Chrome’s V8 engine in NodeJS works as a runtime environment to execute JS code and uses a Just-in-Time compiler for instant output.

Full-Stack Development

Another thing that sides us with the NodeJS is, we can utilize the framework for the full-stack development, meaning for the client-side as well server-side development. NodeJS offers the flexibility to use JavaScript both on the frontend and backend, which is why many enterprises have leveraged it in the past. Also, reusing the Javascript across the web development project speeds up the deployment and delivery process, which is a huge advantage for projects with tight deadlines.

Great Tool for Microservices Development

Developers can utilize NPM packages for the NodeJS ecosystem to modularize the architecture of web apps and migrate from monolithic. PayPal and Netflix both have migrated to NodeJS to utilize microservice, which has improved their average response time. This transition also helps them eliminate code duplication, add more features, organize the architecture, and improve user experience.

Cons of NodeJS

Web apps developed with NodeJS have strong pillars like performance, maintenance, and interactive user experience. However, it still has certain limitations. Let’s have a look:

Poor at Large Data Volume Processing

Unlike Python, NodeJs isn’t great at handling complex tasks and operations to process large data volume. However, its strong point is to process multiple simple requests and not complicated ones, which can create delays.

To sum it up, NodeJs is great at multiple inputs and outputs and fetching data from the server to the user but experiences issues when making changes to this data. There are multiple reasons behind it, the first being NodeJS processes requests using a single thread event loop. And the second is NodeJs is based on JavaScript, which in fact is a frontend language and imparts low CPU-handling capabilities to NodeJS.

Complicated Syntax

As mentioned, NodeJS is based on the frontend development language and its principles, which affect the capabilities of Node as a backend technology. NodeJS has various inconsistent models and lacks standardized semantics, which makes long-term maintenance difficult and problematic.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, both the technologies are great and have their own strengths and weaknesses for backend development. There’s no single tool available that comes out as a perfect solution and stands true to all your expectations. However, choosing the right one depends on your requirements and priorities. If you want high performance, easy to maintain, and interactive backend, NodeJS is the right choice. Whereas Python comes in handy if you want to simplify complex operations and develop innovative web apps by adjusting on the speed.

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