Both languages have been praised for their relative simplicity and the ease with which even completely green developers can pick them up. Both are also very well-documented and have IDEs for all operating systems (Windows, macOS, Linux). Picking a winner in this category will be difficult on merit alone. Still, if we had to make a recommendation, we’d go with Python. Thanks to its ever-growing popularity, the language is covered by innumerable online courses and often taught at university to CS students, something that can’t be said about PHP.
To make a judgement about the usability of Python vs PHP, one must first consider the architecture of the languages. Python is (mostly) object-oriented. So is PHP, which, in a nutshell, means that it encapsulates code modules that contain certain functions and data in objects. If your dev team is familiar with object-oriented programming, they should have no issues getting into either PHP or Python.
Since both languages are mostly based on the same paradigm, you can’t really make a judgment based solely on that criterion. It mostly comes down to personal preference, but it seems that many developers prefer Python’s simple syntax, readable indentation, and overall elegance over the way PHP code tends to be structured.
Although PHP can be (and sometimes is) used for other purposes, it is intended as a web development language. Trying to do other things with PHP is not impossible, but using it for other things should be avoided or considered only as an intellectual exercise in bending a technology to your will. In a word, PHP is meant for web and web only.
Python, on the other hand, is infinitely more versatile. It can be used for web development, but also many, many other things. Some examples include data science, machine learning, natural language processing, image processing and, last but not least, mobile and desktop application development. Odds are that if something can be done, it can be done with Python.
Python and PHP are two mature programming languages with solid community backing, documentation, and support. PHP, while younger, is considered messy and uncool by many, although it can be very powerful when used for its intended purpose, which is web development. Python, the older of the two, with its countless modules and libraries, modularity and inherent simplicity, is a favourite of programmers across all domains of software. Whatever you choose to do with it, you probably can’t go wrong, because Python is so adaptable and easy to use that it can be used to achieve almost any programming objective quickly and efficiently.
Still unsure about which language to choose? Need help with your Python or PHP project? Get in touch, we’re always happy to talk!