Python is a high-level, interpreted, and all-purpose programming language that needs no introduction. It is undoubtedly considered a top market solution, combining many elements of other programming languages to create an accessible yet universally useful tool that’s great for developers at all skill levels.
This can mostly be attributed to Python’s clarity and ease of use—instead of the punctuation commonly found in other programming languages, Python uses actual English keywords to perform operations with less syntactic construction.
What’s more, Python has been completely open-source since the very beginning, its standard library is incredibly rich, and the online community can help you get even more out of it.
C# is a programming language commonly used for a wide range of app development projects. As the name suggests, it’s related to the C programming language, though is far more user-friendly. Similarly to Python, it features much more readable syntax and design.
Developed by Microsoft as part of the .NET framework, C# was designed for the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI). It’s an object-oriented language that’s very simple, just like Python. While it works best with Windows, that’s not all C# is good for. Its similarity to C, C++, and Java makes it also very easy for developers to learn.
At this point, you may be wondering: if both these languages are so high-quality, object-oriented, easy to read, and so on, aren’t they basically the same thing? Well, as is usually the case with such comparisons, the answer to that is both “Of course they’re not!” and “It’s more complicated than that.”
The thing is, these languages are both great at what they’re made to do and will provide a strong team of developers with the proper tools that will help them bring projects to completion.
The devil is in the details, though, and while a randomly chosen program with some great features will surely benefit your company, you’d probably be better off choosing a dedicated technology that’s tailored to the particular needs of your team and the projects you want delivered.
The first difference you’ll notice is that Python is open-source, while C# is a Microsoft product. A tiny detail, but an important one, as it comes with a license and everything that entails.
Overall, C# is also better organized with consistent syntax and formatting, while Python is easier to read and learn, and contains fewer symbols, making it more accessible, though also potentially less capable to handle more complex situations.
C# has a great library based on .NET, but Python comes with an incredibly extensive set of pre-packaged libraries, providing code ready to be used by developers from day one.
The differences listed above lead us to another question: who is Python for, and who will benefit more from using C#? In practice, various companies use C#, Python, or even a mix of the two, so it’s hard to give a clear answer on what industries use which language more commonly. What we can analyze, though, is what types of development teams will benefit more from one or the other.
Most importantly, Python is far easier, making it the best choice for projects that need a fast turnaround without sacrificing performance. You don’t need a team that’s already proficient in the language from the get-go, as any competent developer will pick it up pretty much instantly. Additionally, if you plan on making your project work across a variety of platforms, Python’s open-source nature aligns with that perfectly.
Teams that are more tightly connected to Microsoft, however, can be sure that C# will be a more optimal choice for them. As long as they’re familiar with the language, they’ll have no problem with Microsoft integration due to the standard libraries and syntax that C# utilizes.
Of course, that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tangible differences between Python and C#. If you want to know which language will really prove to be the best to meet your specific needs, we’ll need to go deeper into the more practical details.
In terms of performance, Python is pretty hard to beat. It’s an interpreted language with the interpreter launching as soon as the program starts. Additionally, due to its much simpler syntax, Python requires far fewer lines of code than C# does to execute the same task, theoretically making the process faster.
And yet, C# proves to be quite the competition. In practice, C# programs actually run faster than Python ones, and they use up less memory to do it. It may seem like a clear argument in C#’s favor, but there’s actually more to it than that.
The first thing to consider is, once again, the framework. C# performs best on Microsoft, while Python will work better if you’re using any other platform. Having said that, while there is a difference in the levels of performance, when we consider the power that contemporary devices have, it might actually be negligible.
Most programs will run on almost all computers fast enough that these differences in performance won’t really matter. In the end, it depends on how important those are to you and what platform you’re developing for.
While there’s no doubt that you’ll be letting professionals handle the coding, ease of use is always something you need to consider. There’s only so much a developer can do with an inefficient tool, and when it comes to ease of use of programming languages, it all boils down to the simplicity of the code.
You can have the most robust technology at your disposal, but if it’s hard to read, you’ll be getting nowhere fast. Complicated coding may also actually lead to some serious security issues, not to mention hard-to-fix bugs. In short: the less complicated the code, the easier it is to use, and the more it helps you maintain your app and keep it secure.
In that regard, Python is the clear winner. As we’ve mentioned previously, sometimes C# may require as much as eight times the number of lines Python requires to perform the same action. This makes Python a much better option if you’re concerned with safety, maintenance, or onboarding.
How the language itself is designed is really only one part of the bigger picture. Even the best designed programming language on the market won’t do you any good if there’s no community invested in it.
In a way, a programming language is never the work of just one person, and the worth of communities cannot be overstated. They’re often responsible for creating entirely new features, packages, libraries, as well as fixing issues.
While both languages have very large communities, with C# pretty much never going below the fourth spot on the community ranking lists, Python is the undisputed champion here.
The reasons for this are varied, but the aforementioned ease of use probably isn’t without significance in this case. There are thousands of contributors working on Python-based frameworks like CPython or Django, and hundreds of thousands of libraries online that are available for free—all thanks to the dedicated community.
Additionally, since the language is incredibly beginner-friendly, the Python community is also open for users of all skill levels, making it one of the most welcoming coding communities online.
When considering the programming language for your next project, you’re going to need to take the learning curve into account. Do you want your in-house team to learn the ropes quickly, or invest in an external team that already knows the ins and outs of the language and won’t need to learn anything?
If you’re going for the former, Python is the best choice for you. It’s far easier to read than C# and requires fewer lines of code to achieve the same result. If you’re starting development with a team of total newbies, they’re bound to pick up on Python much faster. Add to that the amazing community we’ve mentioned before and you’re pretty much set for a very soft learning curve.
C# is a bit of a different story. It would be easy to say that the learning curve is simply steeper, but that also depends on where your programmers are coming from. Since C# has the same foundation as C, C++, and others like them, programmers familiar with those will have no problem jumping in.
Additionally, C# is Microsoft-native, meaning that should your goal be to create something in Microsoft, using C# will probably feel more natural. In the end, though, whether or not the learning curve is a factor at all depends on how much money you want to spend on programmers who will have to learn and use a new language.
There’s a reason why Python and C# are so close in terms of popularity, and it’s the high flexibility they share. Depending on the project you’re working on, either one of them can get the job done for you, but you need to be aware of the consequences working with a particular programming language will bring.
In terms of flexibility, Python will be the choice for you in most cases. It’s fast, easy to grasp, offers good performance, and is excellent for any of your cross-platform needs. Due to all these factors, Python makes it effortless for new members to join your team at any time, switch to the device you’re designing for, and find new libraries as the need arises.
However, if you’re working on a project that requires Microsoft integration, and you know you’re going to stick to it, C# might actually be a better solution. Since the language was made by Microsoft, it guarantees strong performance with other Microsoft products. Add to that decent access to external libraries, and you’ve got a pretty reliable, flexible language for your Microsoft-integrated projects.
At the end of the day, there is no clear answer as to which programming language will work better in the future. Microsoft is still one of the leading technology corporations in terms of software, so it’s clear there’s always going to be a market for C# and a lot of projects will benefit from using it.
With that said, in the majority of cases nowadays, projects need to be agile. The number of platforms available for software to be created for grows by the day, and not everything will be closely tied to Microsoft forever. Python’s simplicity, ingenuity, and the incredible community backing it up in the end makes it the more future-proof of the two programming languages.
Despite many similarities between them, in practice Python and C# will work quite differently for your company. We hope that this article has cleared some things up for you and familiarizing yourself with their key characteristics will make it easier for you to decide which language will fit your business needs better.
Should you choose Python, STX Next is ready to help you build your software product with over 200 Python developers on board. We specialize in Python-focused development with a wide variety of frameworks and libraries to meet your specific backend needs.
If you’d like to learn more about Python, here are some free resources you’re bound to find useful:
STX Next might be the largest Python software agency in Europe, but our experts will gladly support you with creating all sorts of web applications using any technology you’re taking into consideration.
If you have any questions or doubts about the tech stack you should use for your next project, contact us and let’s get started on making your product vision come true!