In the modern development ecosystem, there are many programming languages to learn that can get a job done. Among today’s most popular general-purpose languages are Java and Python. Both are incredibly versatile and are often used for web and mobile applications, games, multimedia, and business tools.

This article will compare Python and Java, examining their similarities and differences. And we’ll dig into using these languages to interact with WordPress sites, perhaps helping you decide which is right for you.

A Quick Look at Java

Java is a class-based, object-oriented programming (OOP) language, meaning that the language follows a programming paradigm based on the concept of objects. An object can contain data and code. Data is contained in properties and acted upon by code contained in methods.

Java is often used to develop mobile and web server apps, business solutions, and embedded systems.

Java is a platform-independent language, meaning you can write your code once and then run it just about anywhere, including on Kinsta’s Application Hosting platform.

A Quick Look at Python

Python is a popular, high-level, general-purpose programming language with a readable and compact syntax. That helps you get more done with fewer lines of code. Python is also object-oriented by design.

Python works on multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux. It’s often used for server-side web development, math and computation, scripting, data science, machine learning, and other artificial intelligence (AI) applications.

Developers work primarily with Python versions 2.x and 3.x. The latter supports the newer, cleaner Python syntax and has better support for third-party modules than Python 2.

Like Java, Python applications can run on desktop devices or remote servers accessed via the Internet. Kinsta customers can quickly deploy Python applications on our Application Hosting platform, including Python-based frameworks like Django and Flask.

Python vs Java: Key Differences

Python and Java are similar in many ways, though they have some important differences. Let’s compare the two.

Python vs Java: Ease of Use

Python is simple to use: you just need to download and install Python on your local machine. Once that’s done, you can run Python scripts (files with a .py extension) from a terminal anywhere in your system. Python also includes pip, a package manager for installing third-party code.

Java has a steeper learning curve than Python. It’s more difficult to install and set up, as you need to install a Java Development Kit (JDK) and the included Java Runtime Environment (JRE) to compile and run the code locally.

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Python and Java Performance

When comparing Python vs. Java, you can expect the latter to be faster because Java uses static binding as opposed to Python’s dynamic binding.

Take the calling of a function, for example. When Python calls a function, it takes its name in string format and searches the dictionary to find the actual callable body. It does this every time a function is invoked.

In contrast, Java simply goes through its virtual method table to locate the Nth slot. In general, Java’s process is faster because it has less abstraction than Python’s.

Python and Java Syntax

Python is inarguably one of the easiest programming languages to learn. Its syntax is very simple, concise and — in many ways — resembles the English language.

To compare both syntaxes, take a look at the following code snippets, which demonstrate declaring some data and printing it on the console.

In Python, this takes only a few lines of code:

phone_no = {"person_1": "040200110"} // declare some data in a dictionary
print(phone_no) // print data

Java’s syntax is more complex. It requires knowledge of classes and OOP, including keywords like public, main, protected, and so on. Additionally, Java is strongly typed, meaning variables must have a corresponding type declaration.

Java programs also take up more lines of code than many other languages. Here’s the equivalent of that same Python program in Java:

import java.util.HashMap;
public main Code {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        // declare a HashMap
        HashMap<String, String> data = new HashMap<>(); 
        // add data to HashMap
        data.put("person_1", "040200110") 
        // print HashMap with data
        System.out.println(data)
    }
}

Because Java is class-based, you must create a new class to contain your data and methods. As a result, even a simple program can require more code. Above, two lines were required to declare the variable and assign its data. In Python, one line of code accomplished both.

Additionally, we imported the HashMap class in the Java code above to help create our data structure. In Java, built-in libraries must be imported for them to be used.

Python and Java Libraries

Python is one of the main languages for data scientists and engineers. Some of the popular libraries/frameworks for Python are:

  • Tensorflow (for machine learning)
  • Scikit-learn (for working with complex data)
  • Django (for building web server apps)
  • Requests (for making HTTP requests)
  • PyTorch (for machine learning)
  • Apache Spark (for data engineering and data science)
  • Selenium (for browser automation and web scraping)
  • Graph-tool (for manipulation and statistical analysis of graphs)
  • Flask (for building web server APIs)
  • Theano (for numerical computation)

Java is frequently used for developing desktop applications, but it also has libraries for a variety of other purposes. Many of its libraries are geared toward web and mobile development. Here are some of the popular Java libraries:

Using Python or Java with WordPress Applications

WordPress uses four primary markup or programming languages: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP. HTML and CSS are used to design the front end of the website. JavaScript is used for frontend programming, and PHP is used in the backend for server-side scripting and interacting with the database, which could be MySQL, MariaDB, or something else.

Apart from PHP, you can use server-side programming languages like Java and Python to interact with WordPress sites — even though they aren’t natively compatible — via the WordPress REST API.

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Using the WordPress API

The WordPress REST API provides a set of endpoints that applications can call to interact and exchange data with a WordPress site. This data is usually stored in JSON object format. This means you can build a server-side application using Python or Java to query the WordPress REST API on demand.

You can create, read, update, and delete information on the WordPress site by calling the respective endpoint in your app. For example, here’s a sample cURL request to create a new post in WordPress:

curl -X POST --user username:password http://yourdomain.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/PostID -d '{"title": "New Blog Post", "content": "In this post, I'll...", // other post fields }' 

You can make requests to the WordPress API from Java backends to either retrieve information from a WordPress site, create a new one, or update an existing one. You just need to make a request to the corresponding API endpoint. The following Java code would retrieve all of the posts from a WordPress site.

URL url = new URL("https:/my-domain/wp-json/v2/posts");
HttpURLConnection con = (HttpURLConnection) url.openConnection();
con.setRequestMethod("GET");

You can use Python to access WordPress using the WordPress REST API. The following code gets and prints to the screen all the posts from a WordPress site (that doesn’t require a password-protected login).

import requests

response = requests.get('https://kinsta.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts')
print(response.json())

You can also run Python scripts from your WordPress site, but this is only possible if a Python compiler is installed on the server.

The same goes for Java. To run Java in WordPress, you need JDK installed on your local machine. Then you can execute a javac and java command (Windows shell) from a PHP program like functions.php.

While both Python and JavaScript use API to update WordPress sites from their native backends, Python has a slight advantage due to its ease of using scripts.

Summary

Python and Java are both general-purpose languages with a large collection of libraries for different purposes. While both are relatively easy to use, Python’s simple syntax is easier to learn and use, whereas Java takes a bit more practice.

Meanwhile, Python is ideal for data science and machine learning, whereas Java is more popular among developers of mobile apps and embedded systems. Neither Python nor Java is suitable for core WordPress development, though they both can be used to build apps that interact with the WordPress API.

This means that the right choice depends on your comfort level and the specifics of your project.

After you’ve chosen the best language for your next project, there’s a good chance that the best way to share your work with the world is on Kinsta’s developer-friendly Application Hosting platform.


Get all your applications, databases and WordPress sites online and under one roof. Our feature-packed, high-performance cloud platform includes:

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