People working in data science or analytics, are likely to be familiar with the Python vs. R debate. Although both languages are bringing the future to life through artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data-driven innovation, there are advantages and disadvantages.
The two open-source languages are very similar in many ways and are free to download for everyone. Both languages are appropriate for data science tasks — from data manipulation to automation to business analysis and big data exploration.
The main distinction is that Python is a general-purpose programming language, whereas R originated in statistical analysis. The question is increasingly not which programming language to use, but how to make the best use of both for specific use cases.
What exactly is Python?
Python is a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language with liberal use of white space that emphasizes code readability. Python, which was first released in 1989, is an easy-to-learn programming language that is popular among programmers and developers. Python is one of the world’s most popular programming languages, trailing only Java and C.
Several Python libraries are available to help with data science tasks, including the following:
- Numpy for dealing with large dimensional arrays.
- Pandas are utilized for data manipulation and analysis.
- Matplotlib for creating create data visualizations.
Furthermore, Python is particularly well suited for large-scale machine learning deployment. Its deep learning and machine learning libraries include tools such as scikit-learn, Keras, and TensorFlow, allowing data scientists to create sophisticated data models that can be directly integrated into a production system. Jupyter
Notebooks, on the other hand, are an open-source web application for easily sharing documents containing your live Python code, equations, visualizations, and data science explanations.
All about R
R is an open-source programming language that’s enhanced for statistical analysis and data visualization. R, which was created in 1992, has a thriving ecosystem that includes complex data models and elegant data reporting tools. At the time of writing, more than 13,000 R packages for deep analytics were available through the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN).
R, which is popular among data science scholars and researchers, offers a wide range of libraries and tools for the following:
- Data cleaning and preparation
- Making visualizations
- Machine learning and deep learning algorithms for training and evaluation.
For simplified statistical analysis, visualization, and reporting, R is commonly used within RStudio, an integrated development environment (IDE). Shiny allows you to use R applications directly and interactively on the web.
Python vs R – Goals for Data analysis
The main difference between the two languages is the way they approach data science. Both open-source programming languages contain huge groups that are continuously expanding their libraries and tools. However, while R is primarily used for statistical analysis, Python offers a more general approach to data munging.
Python, like C++ and Java, is a multi-purpose language with a readable syntax that is simple to learn. Python is used by programmers to perform data analysis and machine learning in scalable production environments. For example, you could use Python to incorporate face recognition into your mobile API or to create a machine learning application.
R, meanwhile, was created by statisticians and heavily relies on statistical models and specialized analytics. R is used by data scientists for deep statistical analysis, which is supported by a few lines of code and appealing data visualizations. R could be used for customer behavior analysis or genomics research, for example.
Some important differences between Python and R:
Python supports a wide range of data formats, from comma-separated value (CSV) files to web-sourced JSON. Python code allows SQL tables to be imported directly. The Python requests library allows you to easily seize data from the web for building datasets for web development. R, on the other hand, is intended for data analysts to import data from Excel, CSV, and text files.
Files generated in Minitab or SPSS can also be adapted into R data frames. While Python is more versatile for web data extraction, modern R packages such as Rvest are designed for basic web scraping.
Pandas, Python’s data analysis library, can be utilized for exploring data in Python. Within a very short period, data can be sorted, filtered, and displayed. R, meanwhile, is designed for the statistical analysis of large datasets and offers a variety of data exploration options. R allows for the generation of probability distributions, performs various statistical tests, and employs standard machine learning and data mining techniques.
Numpy for numerical modeling analysis, SciPy for scientific computing and calculations, and scikit-learn for machine learning algorithms are all standard Python libraries for data modeling. You may need to rely on packages outside of R’s core functionality for specific modeling analysis in R. However, the Tidyverse, a collection of packages, makes it simple to import, manipulate, visualize, and report on data.
While Python does not excel at envisioning, you can use the Matplotlib library to create basic graphs and charts. Additionally, the Seaborn library allows for the generation of more appealing and informative statistical graphics in Python.
R, meanwhile, was designed for displaying the results of statistical analysis, with the base graphics module enabling you to quickly create basic charts and plots. ggplot2 can also be utilized for creating more-complex plots, such as complex scatter plots with regression lines.
Python or R? What suits you better?
Choosing the appropriate language is dependent on your situation. Here are some things to think about:
Do you have any coding experience? Python has a linear and smooth learning curve due to its easy-to-read syntax. It is regarded as an excellent language for beginners. In just a few minutes, novices can be running data analysis tasks in R. However, the complexity of advanced functionality in R makes developing expertise more difficult.
What do your coworkers use? R is a statistical tool that is used by academics, engineers, and scientists who do not have any programming experience. Python is a production-ready programming language that is used in a variety of industry, research, and engineering workflows.
What issues are you attempting to resolve? R programming is better suited for statistical learning, with unrivaled libraries for data analysis and experimentation. Python is a better choice for machine learning and large-scale applications, particularly data analysis within web apps.
How crucial are graphs and charts? R applications are ideal for creating beautiful graphics from your data. Python applications, on the other hand, are easier to integrate into an engineering environment.
It’s worth noting that many tools, including Microsoft Machine Learning Server, support both R and Python. As a result, most organizations use a combination of the two languages, and the R vs. Python debate is moot. Indeed, you could perform early-stage data analysis and exploration in R and then shift to Python when the time arrives to ship some data products.