Python vs C# – an incomplete comparison

This is not going to be a complete comparison of everything that the two languages have to offer, but a beginner’s first look at how the two languages look and feel different. Expect a lot of additional posts on additional differences and similarities in the future.

Apart from Python being dynamically typed, interpreted and C# being statically typed, compiled, here are some subtle points of interest:

1. In C#, you can use {0}, {1} etc. as placeholders for variables in a format string, in a Console.WriteLine() function call, and the format string is followed by a comma separated list of the variables used. In Python (in Python 3 that is, not in Python 2), you do that by calling the method format of a string object, which has the {0}, {1}, etc. embedded, and the string is therefore followed by a dot, which is followed by the keyword format, parentheses (hence, a tuple) containing all the variables.

2. In C#, using the directive using <namespace name> is sufficient to include everything from the corresponding namespace into the current file. In Python, even after you use import, you need to qualify the name of the corresponding entity with the name of the namespace, e.g. random.randint(). If you want to avoid doing that, you may either do from module import *, or from module import entity. You may use something like System.Console.WriteLine() in C# without saying using System, but you cannot do something like that in Python.

3. In C# there are no performance differences whichever variant you use. I am not sure what happens under the hood in Python. I will have to get back to you on that one.

4. In Python, once you install a module, you can import it easily from anywhere. In C# on the other hand, some assemblies (read, modules for all practical purposes), are located in different directories and the compiler will need to be told explicitly about that.

5. Being a compiled language (with a compiled bunch of files called an assembly), C# (or any .NET language, for that matter) gives rise to things like the IL (CIL or MSIL), metadata, manifest, and by extension assembly viewers (disassemblers), decompilers, etc… we don’t have these problems in Python. Python does have py2exe which generates a compiled executable for the Windows platform. However, py2exe apparently only keeps the byte-compiled version of the code and not the raw one, so as it appears right now, it might not be that straightforward to get your raw Python source code back if you only have the compiled version. In a C# assembly, you can get back to the actual code by using decompilers, e.g. Reflector.

That’s all for now.

PS: WordPress, please allow using C# as a tag, don’t automatically convert C# to C++ !! For now, I am using C-sharp as the tag:-)

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