PowerShell vs Python. Which one is best for you

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Many developers and system administrators are confused when choosing between the two programming languages, PowerShell and Python. This has been a debate for many years which among the two is better. It cannot be said which one is a clear winner because there are a lot of factors involved when comparing these two languages. Python is faster than PowerShell, so for building a general-purpose application, Python is the preferred option. But if you have to execute something specific with time constraints, the performance of PowerShell will be better, and the lines of code used will also be lesser compared to Python. So majorly, Python is preferred by developers, and system administrators prefer PowerShell.

In this article, I will talk about the comparison between PowerShell and Python. But before that, let us understand what PowerShell and Python are.

 

What is PowerShell?

PowerShell is an open-source framework used to automate administrative tasks, majorly on the Windows operating system. But PowerShell is cross-platform, so you can also use it on other operating systems such as Linux. This framework has been developed by Microsoft. PowerShell is both a scripting programming language and a command-line shell. It is built on top of the .NET framework, so Windows operating system is preferable for working with PowerShell.

Microsoft offers two command shells, one is a command prompt shell, and the other one is PowerShell. System administrators use these command shells to communicate with the operating system or application to perform some administrative tasks. There are many similarities between the shells, but PowerShell has many more advanced functionalities than a command prompt. So, you can run all the commands of the command prompt in PowerShell, and you can also do much more.

PowerShell automates or executes a task using some commands, which are called CMDLETS. These commands created by Microsoft can be used to execute some advanced functions on Windows operating system. And compared to command prompt working with these commands on PowerShell, it is pretty easy. In PowerShell, you can use the pipe concept where you can send the data from one command to the following command, so the output of the first command can be the input to the second command.

Learning and implementing PowerShell it’s very easy. PowerShell comes with a lot of object-oriented features which you can use to automate many administrative tasks. PowerShell is majorly used by system administrators working on Windows operating system, it is a lifesaver for them in their daily activities. You can run the jobs on a local or remote machine in the background with PowerShell. In PowerShell, you can create your own scripts that can be reused, so you will have to write the script only once and use it multiple times. In PowerShell, you can transfer the files smoothly using Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS).

 

What is Python?

Python is one of the most popular programming languages, according to the TIOBE Index. Python ranks 2 after C programming language, and soon it is going to be on rank 1. Python programming language one of the fastest growing programming languages, according to a stack overflow survey.

Python programming language was developed in the late 1980s by Guido Van Rossum. This programming language has been there for almost 3 decades now, beside other programming languages such as Java, C, etc., it is a general-purpose, high-level, open-source programming language that Guido Van Rossum modelled after the English language. So, reading and writing Python code is very easy compared to other programming languages.

In recent years, organizations like Facebook, Amazon, Google have hired a lot of Python professionals, which makes Python a demanding skill in the IT industry. The major advantage of Python over other programming languages like Java is the lesser lines of code. By using Python programming languages, you can implement the same logic written in Java in much lesser lines. So, a lot of beginners and computer science graduates are getting attracted towards Python and hence choosing Python as their first programming language. If you are a beginner, you can quickly learn Python as it is very similar to the English language.

Python also had a huge community where millions of developers are very active across the globe. This language is also preferable because of its rich set of libraries. Since the Python community is open source, they keep on producing many modules and libraries that other developers can use. So, most functionality you would like to implement in your application would already be available for you to use. Python has gained a lot of popularity recently because of its wide usage in artificial intelligence, data science, machine learning, big data domains. So, with knowledge of Python, you have multiple career opportunities to opt for. Also, apart from being a programming language, Python is also used for scripting. Using Python, you can automate few tasks, and it is majorly used on Linux operating systems.

 

Key Differences

Operating System

PowerShell is mainly suited for Windows operating system. It is used to automate tasks on windows OS. As PowerShell is built on top of .NET framework, that is why it can perform any task on a windows machine. PowerShell supports cross-platform, so it can also be used on a Linux system, but that is a rare case because of the minimum support of PowerShell on other platforms.

Python is mainly suited for Linux operating system. You have plenty of Python modules in the Linux operating system which can pretty much do any task. Even Python is cross-platform, it is used on Windows operating system as well.

 

Programming vs Scripting

Python is a general-purpose programming language and scripting language both, whereas PowerShell is a scripting language and an automation tool.  The major difference between a programming and scripting language is that a programming language uses a compiler to convert high-level language to machine language, whereas a scripting language uses an interpreter. The compiler compiles the complete code, whereas the interpreter compiles line by line.

 

Usage

Python programming language is used in a variety of applications. You can use Python for administration tasks,  web development, statistical computation, machine learning, big data, etc.

PowerShell is majorly used to execute some administrative tasks. These administrative tasks are used for automation, where the PowerShell scripts are executed for each job.

 

Syntax

Below are few most fundamental syntax differences between Python and PowerShell:

Syntax Python PowerShell
Defining an Array [‘Hello’, ‘ChubbyBeveloper’] @(‘Hello’, ‘ChubbyBeveloper’)
Defining a Class class MyDemo:

x = 10

class MyDemo {

$x = 10

}

Defining an Object MyDemo() [MyDemo]::new()
Constructor class Person:

def __init__(self, name, age):

self.name = name

self.age = age

p1 = Person(“Chubby”, 38)

class Person {

Person($Name, $Age) {

$this.Name = $Name

$this.Age = $Age

}

$Name = ”

$Age = 0

}

[Person]::new(‘Chubby’, 38)

Multi Line Comment “””

Hello, ChubbyDeveloper!

“””

<#

Hello, ChubbyDeveloper!

#>

Function Definition def my_function():

print(“Welcome to ChubbyDeveloper”)

my_function()

function my-function()

{

Write-Host “Welcome to ChubbyDeveloper”

}

my-function

For Loop fruits = [“grapes”, “banana”, “orange”]

for x in fruits:

print(x)

$fruits = @(“grapes”, “banana”, “orange”)

foreach($x in $fruits)

{

Write-Host $x

}

Try Catch try:

print(x)

except:

print(“Python Exception”)

try {

Write-Host $x

} catch {

Write-Host “PowerShell Exception”

}

 

 

Job Roles

Developers mostly use Python for application development. Python offers many modules and packages that can help developers code less and use the existing functionalities created by the Python community. With Python, one can create many developer-friendly and large server-side applications. Python is also used by system administrators but majorly in the Linux environment.

System administrators prefer PowerShell when working on Windows operating system. PowerShell is one of the best languages for automating administrative tasks. Developers can also use PowerShell to build applications, but PowerShell is more suited for administrative tasks.

 

Here is a comparison table for PowerShell vs Python:

Differentiators Python PowerShell
Created By Guido van Rossum Microsoft
Year 1991 2006
What it is A high level, open source, general purpose language A scripting language and a command line shell
Preferred Operating System Linux OS Windows OS
Majority Users Developers System Administrators
Features Easy to learn and understand

The extensive set of Libraries

A wide use of Mathematics

Different kinds of development environments

Cross compilers to other languages

Performance

Statements and Control flow Indentation

Typing

Methods

Expressions

Reference Implementation

API documentation generators

Background Jobs

Script Debugging

PowerShell Remoting

Pipelining

Network file transfer

Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE)

Script cmdlets to execute advanced functions

New cmdlets

Block comments

Community Very huge Very less compared to Python

 

Conclusion

I hope by now you are clear about the differences between Python and PowerShell. But it is not an apple to apple comparison with Python and PowerShell.  Both languages are very powerful and helpful in different scenarios.  So, if you are looking for versatility in a programming language, then Python should be a choice. And if you are working on a Windows operating system and would like to create some automated tasks, then PowerShell should be your choice.

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