Choosing the right programming language for your startup is not an easy decision, considering the huge variety of available options. And it’s not enough to choose one just because it’s more popular, an experienced developer recommended it or a friend claimed it’s the best of the best. The choice of a programming language, especially for a startup, should be wise and based on sound reasons.
But why is it so critical?
If chosen properly, a programming language will help you and your startup:
- save time and money on the implementation of your ideas,
- scale the development team if necessary,
- scale the product, and easily implement new features, and
- easily and effectively support the product after its release.
If its language is not selected wisely, a startup may suffer tech-related problems from the very beginning such as over-budgeting, overestimation, and a lack of flexibility to follow the demands of the market. All of these may drown the whole startup under bad circumstances.
But there’s another important question we should answer before speaking about the best programming language for a startup.
Why Are Startups So Special?
Why do they need a specific approach to development? There’s a lot of information on the web that elaborates on this topic (we strongly recommend getting familiar with the Lean Startup methodology), but here’s the essence of it:
- Most startups have a limited budget. One of the most significant risks is running out of money in the middle of the process.
- Time is important and is also connected with money. A startup needs to find partners and investors quickly and choose the best way to grow.
- Last but not least, startups act in an environment of total uncertainty, and that’s why flexibility matters. While testing ideas, a company needs to be ready to implement any changes dictated by the market.
A startup is a highly vulnerable type of a company and typically doesn’t inspire confidence in any field. You don’t know whether the audience will appreciate your product. You don’t know whether they’re going to pay for it. You don’t even know if your development team will get their job done on time.
In these conditions, choosing the right programming language becomes even more important, as it helps you to partly mitigate some of risks and spend less money on the creation process.
Top Programming Languages for Startup Development
The programming language you choose for your startup is a foundation of your product’s performance, scalability and, as a result, user experience, conversion, and future growth. Recently, a coding bootcamp Coding Dojo analyzed the most popular programming languages used by the worlds’ largest unicorn startups. Here are the top 5:
Let’s analyze the pros and cons and define the best language for startups.
Python is the fastest-growing language in the world, and hasn’t slipped in popularity since 1991. Uses of Python language cover products of different sizes and complexity (data science, machine learning, and AI among them).
Here are the main pros and cons of this language for startups:
- Fast time to market
- Large community and detailed technical documentation
- Easy to learn
- Not native to a mobile environment
- High memory consumption
What is Python programming language used for? With Python, you can quickly develop an MVP and test your product on the market. Developers can easily reuse existing code and create the same functionality much faster. However, Python is not suitable for memory-intensive tasks and needs additional optimization for mobile apps.
- High server availability
- Variety of interfaces for better user interactivity
- No efficient security on the client-side
- Some new functionality is not supported by old browsers
Java is a high-level programming language often used for building enterprise applications that aim to scale in the future. Java is commonly used to create applications of different types.
- Write Once, Run Everywhere
- Has a great number of APIs
- Doesn’t look native on the desktop
Java includes security as an integral part of the design and is considered to be the most secure programming language. If you aim to build a product with a variety of features, Java can accomplish different tasks such as networking, database connection, and XML parsing.
However, in comparison with C and C++, Java is significantly slower and memory- consuming.
C++ is one of the oldest programming languages and is known as the mother of all languages. A lot of programming languages are built using C++ as the base.
- Combines features of both high-level and low-level languages
- Compatibility with C
- C++ is very specific and niche-oriented
In general, C++ is not the best choice for a startup, unless you have very specific performance requirements. When your goal is to quickly build an MVP, it’s better to choose another language that enables fast prototyping.
Ruby is an open-source language that allows for simple and fast creation of web applications. Here are its benefits for your startup:
- Compatible with different technologies
- Slow performance
- Lack of flexibility
Ruby has a lot of default modules and plugins out of the box, which is great for standard functionality. However, if you want to develop a product with specific functionality, Ruby can be hard to adjust.
What Programming Language is the Best for Startups?
Consequently, from what we’ve learned above, a startup-friendly programming language needs to help the company:
- build an MVP as quickly as possible to attract investment and test the hypotheses,
- easily implement new features,
- create fast iterations during the development process,
- scale the business,
- scale the development team working on the project,
- most likely, integrate with other software related to the product, and
- easily and effectively support the product after its release.
Python is often considered one of the best startup programming languages, as it satisfies all of these requirements.
Certainly, the choice of language depends on the type of product programming startups aim to develop and its owners’ business goals. This means that, despite Python’s versatility, in some cases another language will be more effective. It’s not about Python being unsuitable for certain kinds of products. It’s just that sometimes you can do the same things you can do with Python more efficiently using another language (e.g., if you need a streaming service). But, in 90% of cases, Python remains the most legitimate programming language for new companies, and our rich experience in product development proves this statement.
Reasons to Use Python for Your Startup
Having been in use for more than 30 years, Python is obtaining more and more admirers in developer communities all over the world. Forecasts say it’s on track to having an incredible amount of traffic by 2020.
And here’s why so many people consider Python the best programming language for startups.
1. It’s easy
One of the main things what Python is appreciated for is that it’s intuitive and quite easy to learn, compared to other programming languages. According to the Lifehacker’s poll, it’s the #1 Most Popular Programming Language for First-Time Learners.
2. It’s great for building MVPs and prototypes
What is Python used for in programming? Rapid development is one of the basic principles Python is based on. And yes, it is really considered one of the most productive languages, largely thanks to its code efficiency and the possibility for code reuse. Since it is easy and time-effective, computer language Python is a good choice for building MVPs quickly, yet highly functional to attract investors or test ideas among the project’s audience. This is one of its main advantages when it comes to startups.
3. It’s time-tested, yet innovative
Python was established in the 1980s. This means it’s time-tested, but not yet outdated. On the contrary. Python is well known as one of the most innovative and versatile programming languages used to implement cutting-edge ideas, because it is open-source and, thus, is constantly replenished with new libraries and solutions.
4. It’s popular and universal
One of the direct consequences of high popularity is that Python has a huge number of admirers in every country. In turn, this means it’s easy to find developers for a project and replace them if necessary.
5. It has wonderful documentation and community support
Another advantage of Python that business owners often overlook is that it has one of the best stacks of technical documentation ever, as well as a huge and highly supportive community. This means that, whatever task you give your developers, they will not get stuck for a long time looking for a proper decision. They’ll be able to find one quickly. And, again, time is money.
6. It goes well with AI, ML, and BD
Is your project destined to deal with large loads of data? These are highly popular nowadays. Another piece of good news is that Python is the perfect choice for all types of development associated with big data, machine learning and/or artificial intelligence. This is because it has powerful packages intended for these types of tasks (like Panda and NumPy), and wide possibilities for data visualization through APIs.
Research says it’s one of the best uses for Python.
7. It’s open-source
Literally, this means that thousands of the best minds around the world are constantly building the platform. On the other hand, it also means that, as an open-source product, Python can be implemented anywhere you please, and modified to suit the needs of a specific project. Another thing that adds flexibility is Python’s incredible number of libraries (packages) which can be used by developers as elements in turnkey solutions.
8. It’s highly scalable
As mentioned earlier, it’s crucial for a startup to be ready for any kind of change, as well as quick growth. Python is famous for its simplicity: developers can easily overcome any obstacles and scale a project up or down, without having to deal with any time-consuming processes. That is why Python is the best programming language for scalability.
9. It doesn’t require a big team
Python is not bound up with a large amount of written code, which is why it allows developers to work faster. Even more important, it allows you to maintain a smaller development team than many other programming languages require. That’s really good news for a startup, because “fewer people” means “fewer expenses”.
How Will the Django Framework Help Your Python-Based Startup?
Choosing the right programming language for a startup is just the first step. What you need to do next is to consider the framework, which is an environment full of ready tools, blanks, and modules which help developers do their work in less time and with less effort. And yes, there are also a number of options, with the most popular – and, at the same time, the most reasonable choice – being Django.
There’s an idea that “the ability to use Django is perhaps one of the biggest advantages of learning Python” – and our practical experience absolutely confirms this statement.
In addition to all the advantages of Python, Django offers the following features:
- The framework is designed to simplify the developers’ work and to minimize the time required for the development process. For that, Django adheres to the following principles:
- Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY), which means reusing existing code instead of writing it from scratch;
- Rapid Development, which allows the maintenance of more than one iteration at a time.
- Security is also a matter of high priority. Django has one of the best out-of-the-box security systems out there.
- It has truly proficient technical documentation, better than any other open-source framework, and also a hugely supportive community.
What Are the Most Famous Examples of Python/Django-Based Products?
First of all, many well-known projects and companies – such as Google, Instagram, Spotify, Dropbox, The Washington Post, Mozilla, NASA, and many others – rely on code written in Python using the Django framework.
Except for the giants, other successful companies have chosen Python/Django. Here are some of them:
- PADI Travel, the world’s biggest web resource for divers, a booking platform, a travel guide, and a social network.
- Festicket, a website to search for music festival tickets, and also one of the world’s largest music communities.
- Password Boss, a digital wallet and a password management system.
- Hudson, the global recruitment company, which has chosen Django to create its own CRM system.
- Prezi, an online drag-and-drop tool for creating presentations.
- MoneyPark, the first independent provider of personalized financial advice on mortgage and insurance products in Switzerland.
There are many programming languages. And, of course, each has its own advantages. It would be unfair and inaccurate to say there’s only one specific language worth your attention (otherwise, the others just wouldn’t exist).
That said, when we say that Python is the best programming language for a web startup, we mean it will give you:
- the potential to develop a quick MVP,
- easiness in finding product support,
- scalability and flexibility,
- a high level of security, and
- efficiency in terms of time and money.
Python, together with Django, is a combination that our team has tested far and wide for many years. And, as a technical partner, with each project we successfully complete using Python, we clearly see it’s the best choice to use to help a client launch a startup.