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Scala Vs Python Vs R Vs Java - Which language is better for Spark & Why?

One of the most important decisions for the Big data learners or beginners is choosing the best programming language for big data manipulation and analysis. Just understanding business problems and choosing the right model is not enough but implementing them perfectly is equally important and choosing the right language (or languages) for solving the problem goes a long way. If you search top and highly effective programming languages for Big Data on Google, you will find the following top 4 programming languages: JavaScalaPythonRJavaJava is one of the oldest languages of all 4 programming languages listed here. Traditional Frameworks of Big data like Apache Hadoop and all the tools within its ecosystem are Java-based and hence using java opens up the possibility of utilizing large ecosystem of tools in the big data world.  ScalaA beautiful crossover between object-oriented and functional programming language is Scala. Scala is a highly Scalable Language. Scala was invented by the German Computer Scientist, Martin Odersky and the first version was launched in the year 2003.PythonPython was originally conceptualized by Guido van Rossum in the late 1980s. Initially, it was designed as a response to the ABC programming language and later gained its popularity as a functional language in a big data world. Python has been declared as one of the fastest-growing programming languages in 2018 as per the recently held Stack Overflow Developer Survey. Many data analysis, manipulation, machine learning, deep learning libraries are written in Python and hence it has gained its popularity in the big data ecosystem. It’s a very user-friendly language and it is its biggest advantage.  Fun factPython is not named after the snake. It’s named after the British TV show Monty Python.RR is the language of statistics. R is a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. R was created by Ross Ihaka and Robert Gentleman at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and is currently developed by the R Development Core Team. R is named partly after the first names of the first two R authors and partly as a play on the name of S*. The project was conceived in 1992, with an initial version released in 1995 and a stable beta version in 2000.*SS is a statistical programming language developed primarily by John Chambers and R is an implementation of the S programming language combined with lexical scoping semantics, inspired by Scheme.Every framework is implemented in the underlying programming language for its implementation. Ex Zend uses PHP, Panda Framework uses python similarly Hadoop framework uses Java and Spark uses Scala.However, Spark officially supports Java, Scala, Python and R, all 4 languages. If one browses through Apache Spark’s official website documentation, he/she would find many other languages utilized by the open-source community for Spark implementation.    When any developer wants to start learning Spark, the first question he stumbles upon is, out of these pools of languages, which one to use and which one to master? Solution Architects would have a tough time choosing the right language for spark framework and Organizations will always be wondering, which skill sets are relevant for my problem if one doesn’t have the right knowledge about these languages in the context of Spark.    This article will try to answer all these queries.so let’s start-JavaOldest of all and popular, widely adopted programming language of all. There is a number offeatures/advantages due to which Java is favorite for Big data developers and tool creators:Java is platform-agnostic language and hence it can run on almost any system. Java is portable due to something called Java Virtual Machine – JVM. JVM is a foundation of Hadoop ecosystem tools like Map Reduce, Storm, Spark, etc. These tools are written in Java and run on JVM.Java provides various communities support like GitHub and stack overflow etc.Java is scalable, backward compatible, stable and production-ready language. Also, supports a large variety of tried and tested libraries.It is statically typed language (We would see details of this functionality in later sections, in comparison with others)Java is mostly the choice for most of the big data projects but for the Spark framework, one has to ponder upon, whether Java would be the best fit.One major drawback of Java is its verbosity. One has to write long code (number of lines of code) to achieve simple functionality in Java.Java does not support Read-Evaluate-Print-Loop (REPL) which is a major deal-breaker when choosing a programming language for big data processing.ScalaScala is comparatively new to the programming scene but has become popular very quickly. Above are a few quotes from bigger names in the industry for Scala. From the Spark context, many experts prefer Scala over other programming languages as Spark is written in Scala. Scala is the native language of Spark. It means any new API always first be available in Scala.Scala is a hybrid functional programming language because It has both the features of object-oriented programming and functional programming. As an OO Programming Language, it considers every value as an object and all OOPS concepts apply. As a functional programming language, it defines and supports functions. All operations are done as functions. No variable stands by itself. Scala is a machine-compiled language.Scala and Java are popular programming languages that run over JVM. JVM makes these languages framework friendly. One can say, Scala is an advanced level of Java.Features/Advantages of Scala:It’s general-purpose object-oriented language with functional language properties too. It’s less verbose than Java.It can work with JVM and hence is portable.It can support Java APIs comfortably.It's fast and robust in Spark context as its Spark native.It is a statically typed language.Scala supports Read-Evaluate-Print-Loop (REPL)Drawbacks / Downsides of Scala:Scala is complex to learn due to the functional nature of language.Steep learning curve.Lack of matured machine learning languages.PythonPython is one of the de-facto languages of Data Science. It is a simple, open-source, general-purpose language and is very easy to learn. It has a rich set of libraries, utilities, ready-to-use features and support to a number of mature machine learning, big data processing, visualization libraries.Advantages of Python:It is interpreted language (i.e. support to REPL, Read, Evaluate, Print, Loop.) If you type a command into a command-line interpreter and it responds immediately. Java lacks this feature.Easy to learn, easy debugging, fewer lines of code.It is dynamically typed. i.e. can dynamically defined variable types. i.e. Python as a language is type-safe.Python is platform agnostic and scalable.Drawbacks/Disadvantages:Python is slow. Big data professionals find projects built in Java / Scala are faster and robust than the once with python.Whilst using user-defined functions or third party libraries in Python with Spark, processing would be slower as increased processing is involved as Python does not have equivalent Java/Scala native language API for these functionalities.Python does not support heavy weight processing fork() using uWSGI but it does not support true multithreading.R LanguageR is the favourite language of statisticians. R is fondly called a language of statisticians.  It’s popular for research, plotting, and data analysis. Together with RStudio, it makes a killer statistic, plotting, and data analytics application.R is majorly used for building data models to be used for data analysis.Advantages/Features of R:Strong statistical modeling and visualization capabilities.Support for ‘data science’ related work.It can be integrated with Apache Hadoop and Spark easily.Drawbacks/Disadvantages of R:R is not a general-purpose language.The code written in R cannot be directly deployed into production. It needs conversion into Java or Python.Not as fast as Java / Scala.Comparison of four languages for Apache SparkWith the introduction of these 4 languages, let’s now compare these languages for the Spark framework:These languages can be categorized into 2 buckets basis high-level spark architecture support, broadly:JVM Languages: Java and ScalaNon-JVM Languages: Python and RDue to these categorizations, performance may vary. Let’s understand architecture in little depth to understand the performance implications of using these languages. This would also help us to understand the question of when to use which language.Spark Framework High-level architecture An application written in any one of the languages is submitted on the driver node and further driver node distributes the workload by dividing the execution on multiple worker nodes.JVM compatible Application Execution Flow Consider the applications written are JVM compatible (Java/Scala). Now, Spark is also written in native JVM compatible Scala language, hence there is no explicit conversion required at any point of time to execute JVM compatible applications on Spark. Also, this makes the native language applications faster to perform on the Spark framework.There are multiple scenarios for Python/R written applications:Python/R driver talk to JVM driver by socket-based API. On the driver node, both the driver processes are invoked when the application language is non-JVM language.Scenario 1: Applications for which Equivalent Java/Scala Driver API exists - This scenario executes the same way as JVM compatible applications by invoking Java API on the driver node itself. The cost for inter-process communication through sockets is negligible and hence performance is comparable. This is with the assumption that processed data over worker nodes are not to be sent back to the Driver again.Scenario 1(b): If the assumption taken is void in scenario 1 i.e. processed data on worker nodes is to be sent back to driver then there is significant overhead and serialization required. This adds to processing time and hence performance in this scenario deteriorates.Scenario 2: Applications for which Equivalent Java/Scala Driver API do not exist – Ex. UDF (User-defined functions) / Third party python libraries. In such cases equivalent Java API doesn’t exist and hence, additional executor sessions are initiated on worker node and python API is serialized on worker node and executed. This python worker processes in addition to JVM and coordination between them is overhead. Processes also compete for resources which adds to memory contention.In addition, if the data is to send back to the driver node then processing takes a lot of time and problem scales up as volume increases and hence performance is bigger problem.As we have seen a performance, Let’s see the tabular comparison between these languages.Comparison PointsJavaScalaPythonRPerformanceFasterFaster (about 10x faster than Python)SlowerSlowerLearning CurveEasier than JavaTougher than PythonSteep learning curve than Java & PythonEasiestModerateUser GroupsWeb/Hadoop programmersBig Data ProgrammersBeginners & Data EngineersData Scientists/ StatisticiansUsageWeb development and Hadoop NativeSpark NativeData Engineering/ Machine Learning/ Data VisualizationVisualization/ Data Analysis/ Statistics use casesType of LanguageObject-Oriented, General PurposeObject-Oriented & Functional General PurposeGeneral PurposeSpecifically for Data Scientists.Needs conversion into Scala/Python before productizingConcurrencySupport ConcurrencySupport ConcurrencyDoes not Support ConcurrencyNAEase of UseVerboseLesser Verbose than ScalaLeast VerboseNAType SafetyStatically typedStatically typed (except for Spark 2.0 Data frames)Dynamically TypedDynamically TypedInterpreted Language (REPL)NoNoYesYesMaturated machine learning libraries availability/ SupportLimitedLimitedExcellentExcellentVisualization LibrariesLimitedLimitedExcellentExcellentWeb Notebooks SupportIjava Kernel in Jupyter NotebookApache Zeppelin Notebook SupportJupyter Notebook SupportR NotebookWhich language is better for Spark and Why?With the info we gathered for the languages, let's move to the main question i.e. which language to choose for Spark? My answer is not a straightforward single language for this question. I will state my point of view for choosing the proper language: If you are a beginner and want to choose a language from learning Spark perspective. If you are organization/ self employed or looking to answer a question for solutioning a project perspective. I. If you are beginner:If you are a beginner and have no prior education of programming language then Python is the language for you, as it’s easy to pick up. Simple to understand and very user-friendly. It would prove a good starting point for building Spark knowledge further. Also, If you are looking for getting into roles like ‘data engineering’, knowledge of Python along with supported libraries will go a long way. If you are a beginner but have education in programming languages, then you may find Java very familiar and easy to build upon prior knowledge. After all, it grapevine of all the languages.  If you are a hardcore bigdata programmer and love exploring complexities, Scala is the choice for you. It’s complex but experts say if once you love Scala, you will prefer it over other languages anytime.If you are a data scientist, statistician and looking to work with Spark, R is the language for you. R is more science oriented than Python. II. If you are organization/looking for choice of language for implementations:You need to answer the following important questions before choosing the language:Skills and Proficiency: Which skill-sets and proficiency over language, you already have with you/in your team?Design goals and availability of features/ Capability of language: Which libraries give you better support for the type of problem(s) you are trying to solve.Performance implications Details of these explained below: 1. Skillset: This is very straightforward. Whichever is available skill set within a team, go with that to solve your problem, after evaluating answers of other two questions. If you are self-employed, the one you have proficiency is the most likely suitable choice of language.  2. Library Support:  Following gives high-level capabilities of languages:R: Good for research, plotting, and data analysis.Python: Good for small- or medium-scale projects to build models and analyse data, especially for fast start-ups or small teams.Scala/Java: Good for robust programming with many developers and teams; it has fewer machine learning utilities than Python and R, but it makes up for it with increased code maintenance.In my opinion, Scala/Java can be used for larger robust projects to ease maintenance. Also, If one wants the app to scale quickly and needs it to be robust, Scala is the choice.Python and R: Python is more universal language than R, but R is more science oriented. Broadly, one can say Python can be implemented for Data engineering use cases and R for Data science-oriented use cases. On the other hand, if you discover these two languages have about the same library support you need, then pick the one whose syntax you prefer. You may find that you need both depending on the situation. 3. Performance: As seen earlier in the article, Scala/ Java is about 10x faster than Python/R as they are JVM supported languages. However, if you are writing Python/R applications wisely (like without using UDFs/ Not sending data back to the Driver etc) they can perform equally well.ConclusionFor learning, depending upon your prior knowledge, Python is the easiest of all to pick up. For implementations, Choice is in your hands which language to choose for implementations but let me tell you one secret or a tip, you don’t have to stick to one language until you finish your project. You can divide your problem in small buckets and utilize the best language to solve the problem. This way, you can achieve balance between optimum performance, availability, proficiency in a skill, and sub-problem at hand.  Do let us know how your experience was in learning the language comparisons and the language you think is better for Spark. Moreover, which one you think is “the one for you”, through comments below.
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Scala Vs Python Vs R Vs Java - Which language is better for Spark & Why?

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Scala Vs Python Vs R Vs Java - Which language is better for Spark & Why?

One of the most important decisions for the Big data learners or beginners is choosing the best programming language for big data manipulation and analysis. Just understanding business problems and choosing the right model is not enough but implementing them perfectly is equally important and choosing the right language (or languages) for solving the problem goes a long way. 

If you search top and highly effective programming languages for Big Data on Google, you will find the following top 4 programming languages: 

  1. Java
  2. Scala
  3. Python
  4. R

Java

Java is one of the oldest languages of all 4 programming languages listed here. Traditional Frameworks of Big data like Apache Hadoop and all the tools within its ecosystem are Java-based and hence using java opens up the possibility of utilizing large ecosystem of tools in the big data world.  

Scala

A beautiful crossover between object-oriented and functional programming language is Scala. Scala is a highly Scalable Language. Scala was invented by the German Computer Scientist, Martin Odersky and the first version was launched in the year 2003.

Python

Python was originally conceptualized by Guido van Rossum in the late 1980s. Initially, it was designed as a response to the ABC programming language and later gained its popularity as a functional language in a big data world. Python has been declared as one of the fastest-growing programming languages in 2018 as per the recently held Stack Overflow Developer Survey. Many data analysis, manipulation, machine learning, deep learning libraries are written in Python and hence it has gained its popularity in the big data ecosystem. It’s a very user-friendly language and it is its biggest advantage.  

Fun fact

Python is not named after the snake. It’s named after the British TV show Monty Python.

R

R is the language of statistics. R is a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. R was created by Ross Ihaka and Robert Gentleman at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and is currently developed by the R Development Core Team. R is named partly after the first names of the first two R authors and partly as a play on the name of S*. The project was conceived in 1992, with an initial version released in 1995 and a stable beta version in 2000.

*S

S is a statistical programming language developed primarily by John Chambers and R is an implementation of the S programming language combined with lexical scoping semantics, inspired by Scheme.

Every framework is implemented in the underlying programming language for its implementation. Ex Zend uses PHP, Panda Framework uses python similarly Hadoop framework uses Java and Spark uses Scala.

However, Spark officially supports Java, Scala, Python and R, all 4 languages. If one browses through Apache Spark’s official website documentation, he/she would find many other languages utilized by the open-source community for Spark implementation.    

When any developer wants to start learning Spark, the first question he stumbles upon is, out of these pools of languages, which one to use and which one to master? Solution Architects would have a tough time choosing the right language for spark framework and Organizations will always be wondering, which skill sets are relevant for my problem if one doesn’t have the right knowledge about these languages in the context of Spark.    

This article will try to answer all these queries.so let’s start-

Java

Oldest of all and popular, widely adopted programming language of all. There is a number of

features/advantages due to which Java is favorite for Big data developers and tool creators:

  1. Java is platform-agnostic language and hence it can run on almost any system. Java is portable due to something called Java Virtual Machine – JVM. JVM is a foundation of Hadoop ecosystem tools like Map Reduce, Storm, Spark, etc. These tools are written in Java and run on JVM.
  2. Java provides various communities support like GitHub and stack overflow etc.
  3. Java is scalable, backward compatible, stable and production-ready language. Also, supports a large variety of tried and tested libraries.
  4. It is statically typed language (We would see details of this functionality in later sections, in comparison with others)

Java is mostly the choice for most of the big data projects but for the Spark framework, one has to ponder upon, whether Java would be the best fit.

One major drawback of Java is its verbosity. One has to write long code (number of lines of code) to achieve simple functionality in Java.

Java does not support Read-Evaluate-Print-Loop (REPL) which is a major deal-breaker when choosing a programming language for big data processing.

ScalaScala

Scala is comparatively new to the programming scene but has become popular very quickly. Above are a few quotes from bigger names in the industry for Scala. From the Spark context, many experts prefer Scala over other programming languages as Spark is written in Scala. Scala is the native language of Spark. It means any new API always first be available in Scala.

Scala is a hybrid functional programming language because It has both the features of object-oriented programming and functional programming. As an OO Programming Language, it considers every value as an object and all OOPS concepts apply. As a functional programming language, it defines and supports functions. All operations are done as functions. No variable stands by itself. Scala is a machine-compiled language.

Scala and Java are popular programming languages that run over JVM. JVM makes these languages framework friendly. One can say, Scala is an advanced level of Java.

Scala

Features/Advantages of Scala:

  1. It’s general-purpose object-oriented language with functional language properties too. It’s less verbose than Java.
  2. It can work with JVM and hence is portable.
  3. It can support Java APIs comfortably.
  4. It's fast and robust in Spark context as its Spark native.
  5. It is a statically typed language.
  6. Scala supports Read-Evaluate-Print-Loop (REPL)

Drawbacks / Downsides of Scala:

  1. Scala is complex to learn due to the functional nature of language.
  2. Steep learning curve.
  3. Lack of matured machine learning languages.

Python

Python is one of the de-facto languages of Data Science. It is a simple, open-source, general-purpose language and is very easy to learn. It has a rich set of libraries, utilities, ready-to-use features and support to a number of mature machine learning, big data processing, visualization libraries.

Advantages of Python:

  1. It is interpreted language (i.e. support to REPL, Read, Evaluate, Print, Loop.) If you type a command into a command-line interpreter and it responds immediately. Java lacks this feature.
  2. Easy to learn, easy debugging, fewer lines of code.
  3. It is dynamically typed. i.e. can dynamically defined variable types. i.e. Python as a language is type-safe.
  4. Python is platform agnostic and scalable.

Drawbacks/Disadvantages:

  1. Python is slow. Big data professionals find projects built in Java / Scala are faster and robust than the once with python.

Whilst using user-defined functions or third party libraries in Python with Spark, processing would be slower as increased processing is involved as Python does not have equivalent Java/Scala native language API for these functionalities.

  1. Python does not support heavy weight processing fork() using uWSGI but it does not support true multithreading.

R Language

R is the favourite language of statisticians. R is fondly called a language of statisticians.  It’s popular for research, plotting, and data analysis. Together with RStudio, it makes a killer statistic, plotting, and data analytics application.

R is majorly used for building data models to be used for data analysis.

Advantages/Features of R:

  1. Strong statistical modeling and visualization capabilities.
  2. Support for ‘data science’ related work.
  3. It can be integrated with Apache Hadoop and Spark easily.

Drawbacks/Disadvantages of R:

  1. R is not a general-purpose language.
  2. The code written in R cannot be directly deployed into production. It needs conversion into Java or Python.
  3. Not as fast as Java / Scala.

Comparison of four languages for Apache Spark

With the introduction of these 4 languages, let’s now compare these languages for the Spark framework:

These languages can be categorized into 2 buckets basis high-level spark architecture support, broadly:

  1. JVM Languages: Java and Scala
  2. Non-JVM Languages: Python and R

Due to these categorizations, performance may vary. Let’s understand architecture in little depth to understand the performance implications of using these languages. This would also help us to understand the question of when to use which language.

Spark Framework High-level architectureSpark Framework High-level architecture 

An application written in any one of the languages is submitted on the driver node and further driver node distributes the workload by dividing the execution on multiple worker nodes.

JVM compatible Application Execution FlowJVM compatible Application Execution Flow 

Consider the applications written are JVM compatible (Java/Scala). Now, Spark is also written in native JVM compatible Scala language, hence there is no explicit conversion required at any point of time to execute JVM compatible applications on Spark. Also, this makes the native language applications faster to perform on the Spark framework.

There are multiple scenarios for Python/R written applications:

Python/R driver talk to JVM driver by socket-based API. On the driver node, both the driver processes are invoked when the application language is non-JVM language.

Scenario 1: Applications for which Equivalent Java/Scala Driver API exists - This scenario executes the same way as JVM compatible applications by invoking Java API on the driver node itself. The cost for inter-process communication through sockets is negligible and hence performance is comparable. This is with the assumption that processed data over worker nodes are not to be sent back to the Driver again.

Scenario 1(b): If the assumption taken is void in scenario 1 i.e. processed data on worker nodes is to be sent back to driver then there is significant overhead and serialization required. This adds to processing time and hence performance in this scenario deteriorates.

JVM compatible Application Execution Flow

Scenario 2: Applications for which Equivalent Java/Scala Driver API do not exist – Ex. UDF (User-defined functions) / Third party python libraries. In such cases equivalent Java API doesn’t exist and hence, additional executor sessions are initiated on worker node and python API is serialized on worker node and executed. This python worker processes in addition to JVM and coordination between them is overhead. Processes also compete for resources which adds to memory contention.

In addition, if the data is to send back to the driver node then processing takes a lot of time and problem scales up as volume increases and hence performance is bigger problem.

JVM compatible Application Execution Flow

As we have seen a performance, Let’s see the tabular comparison between these languages.

Comparison PointsJavaScalaPythonR
PerformanceFasterFaster (about 10x faster than Python)SlowerSlower
Learning CurveEasier than Java
Tougher than Python

Steep learning curve than Java & PythonEasiestModerate
User GroupsWeb/Hadoop programmersBig Data ProgrammersBeginners & Data EngineersData Scientists/ Statisticians
UsageWeb development and Hadoop NativeSpark NativeData Engineering/ Machine Learning/ Data VisualizationVisualization/ Data Analysis/ Statistics use cases
Type of LanguageObject-Oriented, General PurposeObject-Oriented & Functional General PurposeGeneral PurposeSpecifically for Data Scientists.
Needs conversion into Scala/Python before productizing

ConcurrencySupport ConcurrencySupport ConcurrencyDoes not Support ConcurrencyNA
Ease of UseVerboseLesser Verbose than ScalaLeast VerboseNA
Type SafetyStatically typedStatically typed (except for Spark 2.0 Data frames)Dynamically TypedDynamically Typed
Interpreted Language (REPL)NoNoYesYes
Maturated machine learning libraries availability/ SupportLimitedLimitedExcellentExcellent
Visualization LibrariesLimitedLimitedExcellentExcellent
Web Notebooks SupportIjava Kernel in Jupyter NotebookApache Zeppelin Notebook SupportJupyter Notebook Support

R Notebook

Which language is better for Spark and Why?

With the info we gathered for the languages, let's move to the main question i.e. which language to choose for Spark? 

My answer is not a straightforward single language for this question. I will state my point of view for choosing the proper language: 

  1. If you are a beginner and want to choose a language from learning Spark perspective. 
  2. If you are organization/ self employed or looking to answer a question for solutioning a project perspective. 

I. If you are beginner:

  • If you are a beginner and have no prior education of programming language then Python is the language for you, as it’s easy to pick up. Simple to understand and very user-friendly. It would prove a good starting point for building Spark knowledge further. Also, If you are looking for getting into roles like ‘data engineering’, knowledge of Python along with supported libraries will go a long way. 
  • If you are a beginner but have education in programming languages, then you may find Java very familiar and easy to build upon prior knowledge. After all, it grapevine of all the languages.  
  • If you are a hardcore bigdata programmer and love exploring complexities, Scala is the choice for you. It’s complex but experts say if once you love Scala, you will prefer it over other languages anytime.
  • If you are a data scientist, statistician and looking to work with Spark, R is the language for you. R is more science oriented than Python. 

II. If you are organization/looking for choice of language for implementations:

You need to answer the following important questions before choosing the language:

  1. Skills and Proficiency: Which skill-sets and proficiency over language, you already have with you/in your team?
  2. Design goals and availability of features/ Capability of language: Which libraries give you better support for the type of problem(s) you are trying to solve.
  3. Performance implications 

Details of these explained below: 

1. Skillset: This is very straightforward. Whichever is available skill set within a team, go with that to solve your problem, after evaluating answers of other two questions. 
If you are self-employed, the one you have proficiency is the most likely suitable choice of language.  

2. Library Support:  
Following gives high-level capabilities of languages:

  • R: Good for research, plotting, and data analysis.
  • Python: Good for small- or medium-scale projects to build models and analyse data, especially for fast start-ups or small teams.
  • Scala/Java: Good for robust programming with many developers and teams; it has fewer machine learning utilities than Python and R, but it makes up for it with increased code maintenance.
    In my opinion, Scala/Java can be used for larger robust projects to ease maintenance. Also, If one wants the app to scale quickly and needs it to be robust, Scala is the choice.
    Python and R: Python is more universal language than R, but R is more science oriented. Broadly, one can say Python can be implemented for Data engineering use cases and R for Data science-oriented use cases. On the other hand, if you discover these two languages have about the same library support you need, then pick the one whose syntax you prefer. You may find that you need both depending on the situation. 

3. Performance: As seen earlier in the article, Scala/ Java is about 10x faster than Python/R as they are JVM supported languages. However, if you are writing Python/R applications wisely (like without using UDFs/ Not sending data back to the Driver etc) they can perform equally well.

Conclusion

For learning, depending upon your prior knowledge, Python is the easiest of all to pick up. 

For implementations, Choice is in your hands which language to choose for implementations but let me tell you one secret or a tip, you don’t have to stick to one language until you finish your project. You can divide your problem in small buckets and utilize the best language to solve the problem. This way, you can achieve balance between optimum performance, availability, proficiency in a skill, and sub-problem at hand.  

Do let us know how your experience was in learning the language comparisons and the language you think is better for Spark. Moreover, which one you think is “the one for you”, through comments below.

Shruti

Shruti Deshpande

Blog Author

10+ years of data-rich experience in the IT industry. It started with data warehousing technologies into data modelling to BI application Architect and solution architect.


Big Data enthusiast and data analytics is my personal interest. I do believe it has endless opportunities and potential to make the world a sustainable place. Happy to ride on this tide.


*Disclaimer* - Expressed views are the personal views of the author and are not to be mistaken for the employer or any other organization’s views.

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1 comments

Rahul 01 Jul 2020

Outstanding explanation... Thanks a lot Sir.....

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While this approach also works, the real problems begin if data is needed on a different branch i.e Child 2.1 or Child 2.2 in above chart…In order to solve this problem, we need to pass data from the root/top level of the application through all the intermediate components to the one where we want to pass the data, even though some intermediate components don't even need it.  This mind-numbing process is known as prop drilling,  Prop Drillingwhere you’re passing the state from your root component to the bottom and you end up passing the data via props through components that do not even necessarily need themOne really good solution to solve the above problem is using Context According to the React documentation:  “Context provides a way to pass data through the component tree without having to pass props down manually at every level”Ordinarily, we’d have used any state management library like Redux or have used HOC’s to pass the data in a tedious manner. But what if we don’t want to use it all? Here comes the role of new Context API!In layman words, it gives an approach to make specific data available to all components throughout the React component tree regardless of how deeply nested those components are.Context is just like a global object to the subtree of the React component.When to use the Context APIThe Context API is convenient for sharing data that is either global, such as setting the header and footer theme of a website or logic of user authentication and many more. In cases like these, we can use the Context API without using any extra library or external modules. It can also be used in a multilingual application where we want to implement multiple languages that can be translated into the required text with the help of ContextAPI. It will save prop-drilling   In fact, in any situation where we have to pass a prop through a component so it reaches another component, inside down the tree is where we can use the Context API.Introducing The Context APIThe context API is a way to pass data from top component to bottom ones, without manually passing it to via props. Context is fundamentally utilized when some data needs to be accessible by numerous components at different nesting levels. To create a new Context, we can use the React createContext function like below: const MyContext = React.createContext(defaultValue);In React, data is often passed from a parent to its child component as a property. Here, we can also omit the default value which we have passed to the context, if needed.React data passing from parent to its child Let’s Get Started With ContextThree things are needed to tap into the power of context: 1. The context itselfTo create a context we can use React.createContext method which creates a context object. This is used to ensure that the components at different level can use the same context to fetch the data.   In React.createContext, we can pass an input parameter as an argument which could be anything or it can be null as well.import React from `react';  const ThemeContext = React.createContext('dark');  // Create our context        export default ThemeContext;In this example, a string is passed for the current Context which is “dark”. So we can say, the current theme required for a specific component is Dark.   Also, we have exported the object so that we can use it in other places. In one app, React also allows you to create multiple contexts. We should always try to separate context for different purposes, so as to maintain the code structure and better readability. We will see that later in our reading.   What next?? Now, to utilize the power of Context in our example, we want to provide this type of theme to all the components.  Context exposes a pair of elements which is a Provider Component and a Consumer Component.2. A context providerOkay, so now we have our Context object. And to make the context available to all our components we have to use a Provider.   But, what is Provider? According to the React documentation:"every context object comes with a Provider React component that allows consuming components to subscribe to context changes"In other words, Provider accepts a prop (value) and the data in this prop can be used in all the other child components. This value could be anything from the component state.// myProvider.js import React from 'react'; import Theme from './theme'; const myProvider = () => ( ...   ); export default myProvider;We can say that a provider acts just like a delivery service.prop finding context and deliverling it to consumerWhen a consumer asks for something, it finds it in the context and delivers it to where it's needed.But wait, who or what is the consumer???3.  A context consumer What is Consumer? A consumer is a place to keep the stored information. It can request for the data using the provider and can even manipulate the global store if the provider allows it. In our previous example, let’s grab the theme value and use it in our Header component. // Header.js   import React from 'react'; import Theme from './theme';   const Header = () => (                        {theme => Selected theme is {theme}}             );   export default Header;Dynamic Context:   We can also change the value of the provider by simply providing a dynamic context. One way of achieving it is by placing the Provider inside the component itself and grabbing the value from component state as below:// Footer.js   import React from 'react';   class Footer extends React.Component {    state = {        theme: 'dark'    };      render() {        return (                                                );    } }Simple, no? We can easily change the value of  the Provider to any Consumer.Consuming Context With Class-based ComponentsWe all pretty know that there are two methods to write components in React, which is Class based components and Function based components. We have already seen a demo of how we can use the power of Context in class based components.  One is to use the context from Consumer like “ThemeContext.Consumer” and the other method is by assigning context object from current Context to contextType property of our class.import React, { Component } from "react"; import MyThemeContext from "../Context/MyThemeContext"; import GlobalTheme from "../theme";   class Main extends Component {    constructor() {        super();    }    static contextType = MyThemeContext;  //assign context to component    render() {        const currentTheme = GlobalTheme[this.context];        return (            ...        );    }   }There is always a difference in how we want to use the Context. We can either provide it outside the render() method or use the Context Consumer as a component itself.  Here in the above example, we have used a static property named as contextType which is used to access the context data. It can be utilized by using this.context. This method however, limits you consuming, only one context at a time.Consuming Context With Functional ComponentsContext with Functional based components is quite easy and less tedious. In this we can access the context value through props with the help of useContext method in React. This hook (useContext) can be passed in as the argument along with our Context to consume the data in the functional component.const value = useContext(MyContext);It accepts a context object and returns the current context value. To read more about hooks, read here.  Our previous example looks like:import React, { useContext } from 'react' import MyThemeContext from './theme-context'   const User = props => {    const context = useContext(MyThemeContext)    return ...Now, instead of wrapping our content in a Consumer component we have access to the theme context state through the ‘context’ variable.But we should avoid using context for keeping the states locally. Instead of  conext, we can use local state there.Use of Multiple ContextsIt may be possible that we want to add multiple contexts in our application. Like holding a theme for the entire app, changing the language based on the location, performing some A/B testing, using global parameters for login or user Profile… For instance, let’s say there is a requirement to keep both Theme context and userInfo Context, the code will look like as:       ...   It’s quite possible in React to hold multiple Contexts, but this definitely hampers rendering, serving ‘n’ number of contexts in ‘m’ component and holding the updated value in each rendered component.To avoid this and to make re-rendering faster, it is suggested to make each context consumer in the tree as a separate node or into different contexts.                 And we can perform the nesting in context as:    {theme => (                    {colour => (                Theme: {theme} and colour: {colour}            )}            )} It’s worth noting that when a value of a context changes in the parent component, the child components or the components’ holding that value should be rerendered or changed. Hence, whenever there is a change in the value of provider, it will cause its consumers to re-render.ConclusionDon’t you think this concept is just amazing?? Writing a global context like theme or language or userProfile and using the data of them directly in the child or other components? Implementing these stateful logic by global preferences was never so easy, but Context made this transportation job a lot simple and achievable! Hope you find this article useful. Happy Coding!Having challenge learning to code? Let our experts help you with customized courses!
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What is Context in React? How to use Context in Re...

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How to use sys.argv in Python

The sys module is one of the common and frequently used modules in Python. In this article, we will walk you through how to use the sys module. We will learn about what argv[0] and sys.argv[1] are and how they work. We will then go into how to parse Command Line options and arguments, the various ways to use argv and how to pass command line arguments in Python 3.x In simple terms,Command Line arguments are a way of managing the script or program externally by providing the script name and the input parameters from command line options while executing the script. Command line arguments are not specific just to Python. These can be found in other programming languages like C, C# , C++, PHP, Java, Perl, Ruby and Shell scripting. Understanding sys.argv with examples  sys.argv is a list in Python that contains all the command-line arguments passed to the script. It is essential in Python while working with Command Line arguments. Let us take a closer look with a few examples. With the len(sys.argv) function, you can count the number of arguments. import sys print ("Number of arguments:", len(sys.argv), "arguments") print ("Argument List:", str(sys.argv)) $ python test.py arg1 arg2 arg3 Number of arguments: 4 arguments. Argument List: ['test.py', 'arg1', 'arg2', 'arg3']Module name to be used while using sys.argv To use sys.argv, you will first need to the sys module. What is argv[0]? Remember that sys.argv[0] is the name of the script. Here – Script name is sysargv.py import sys print ("This is the name of the script: ", sys.argv[0]) print ("Number of arguments: ", len(sys.argv)) print ("The arguments are: " , str(sys.argv))Output:This is the name of the script:  sysargv.py                                                                               Number of arguments:  1                                                                                                 The arguments are:  ['sysargv.py']What is "sys. argv [1]"? How does it work? When a python script is executed with arguments, it is captured by Python and stored in a list called sys.argv. So, if the below script is executed: python sample.py Hello Python Then inside sample.py, arguments are stored as: sys.argv[0] == ‘sample.py’ sys.argv[1] == ‘Hello’ sys.argv[2] == ‘Python’Here,sys.argv[0] is always the filename/script executed and sys.argv[1] is the first command line argument passed to the script . Parsing Command Line options and arguments  Python provides a module named as getopt which helps to parse command line options and arguments. Itprovides a function – getopt, whichis used for parsing the argument sequence:sys.argv. Below is the syntax: getopt.getopt(argv, shortopts, longopts=[]) argv: argument list to be passed.shortopts: String of short options as list . Options in the arguments should be followed by a colon (:).longopts: String of long options as list. Options in the arguments should be followed by an equal sign (=). import getopt import sys   first ="" last ="" argv = sys.argv[1:] try:     options, args = getopt.getopt(argv, "f:l:",                                ["first =",                                 "last ="]) except:     print("Error Message ")   for name, value in options:     if name in ['-f', '--first']:         first = value     elif name in ['-l', '--last']:         last = value   print(first + " " + last)Output:(venv) C:\Users\Nandank\PycharmProjects\DSA\venv>python getopt_ex.py -f Knowledge -l Hut Knowledge Hut (venv) C:\Users\Nandank\PycharmProjects\DSA\venv>python getopt_ex.py --first Knowledge –last Hut Knowledge HutWhat are command line arguments? Why do we use them? Command line arguments are parameters passed to a program/script at runtime. They provide additional information to the program so that it can execute. It allows us to provide different inputs at the runtime without changing the code. Here is a script named as argparse_ex.py: import argparse parser = argparse.ArgumentParser() parser.add_argument("-n", "--name", required=True) args = parser.parse_args() print(f'Hi {args.name} , Welcome ')Here we need to import argparse package Then we need to instantiate the ArgumentParser object as parser. Then in the next line , we add the only argument, --name . We must specify either shorthand (-n) or longhand versions (--name)  where either flag could be used in the command line as shown above . This is a required argument as mentioned by required=True Output:  (venv) C:\Users\Nandank\PycharmProjects\DSA\venv>python argparse_ex.py --name Nandan  Hi Nandan , Welcome  (venv) C:\Users\Nandank\PycharmProjects\DSA\venv>python argparse_ex.py -n Nandan  Hi Nandan , Welcome The example above must have the --name or –n option, or else it will fail.(venv) C:\Users\Nandank\PycharmProjects\DSA\venv>python argparse_ex.py --name   usage: argparse_ex.py [-h] --name NAME argparse_ex.py: error: the following arguments are required: --namePassing command line arguments in Python 3.x argv represents an array having the command line arguments of thescript . Remember that here, counting starts fromzero [0], not one (1). To use it, we first need to import sys module (import sys). The first argument, sys.argv[0], is always the name of the script and sys.argv[1] is the first argument passed to the script. Here, we need to slice the list to access all the actual command line arguments. import sys if __name__ == '__main__':     for idx, arg in enumerate(sys.argv):        print("Argument #{} is {}".format(idx, arg))     print ("No. of arguments passed is ", len(sys.argv))Output:(venv) C:\Users\Nandank\PycharmProjects\DSA\venv\Scripts>python argv_count.py Knowledge Hut 21 Argument #0 is argv_count.py Argument #1 is Knowledge Argument #2 is Hut Argument #3 is 21 No. of arguments passed is  4Below script - password_gen.py is used to generate a secret password by taking password length as command line argument.import secrets , sys, os , string ''' This script generates a secret password using possible key combinations''' ''' Length of the password is passed as Command line argument as sys.argv[1]''' char = string.ascii_letters+string.punctuation+string.digits length_pwd = int(sys.argv[1])   result = "" for i in range(length_pwd):     next= secrets.SystemRandom().randrange(len(char))     result = result + char[next] print("Secret Password ==" ,result,"\n")Output:(venv) C:\Users\Nandank\PycharmProjects\DSA\venv\Scripts>python password_gen.py 12 Secret Password == E!MV|,M][i*[Key takeaways Let us summarize what we've learnt so far. We have seen how to use the sys module in Python, we have looked at what areargv[0] and sys.argv[1] are and how they work, what Command Line arguments are and why we use them and how to parse Command Line options and arguments. We also dived into multiple ways to use argv and how to pass command line arguments in Python 3.xHope this mini tutorial has been helpful in explaining the usage of sys.argv and how it works in Python. Be sure to check out the rest of the tutorials on KnowledgeHut’s website and don't forget to practice with your code! 
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How to use sys.argv in Python

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Introduction to Yield in Python

When we write a function, which should perform some operation and provide some result back, we generally use the return statement for returning the result.The yield statement is only used when defining a generator function and is only used in the body of the generator function. Yield are used in Python generators. A python generator is defined like a normal function, but whenever it will needto generate a value, it does so with the yield keyword rather than return. If the body of a def function contains yield, the function will becomea generator function. A Python generator is a function return a generator iterator (just an object we can iterate over) by calling yield .Yield maybe called with a value, in which case that value is treated as the "generated" value. Yield is a keyword in Python that will used to return from a function without destroying the states of its local variable and when the function is called, the execution starts from the last yield statement. Return sends a value back to its caller, whereas yield can produce a sequence of values. We must use yield when we want to iterate over a sequence but don't want to store the entire sequence in memory so in that case you can use yield Python generators. The function will continue the execution immediately after the last yield run. It will allow its code to produce a series of values and sending them back like a list.Example:In the above example, yield is the keyword and 1, 2, 3 are the values that will store in the generator and to print the value inside the generator we are using for loop. We can use yield when we want to iterate over a sequence, but don't want to store the entire sequence in memory.Explaining the Iterables: To understand what yield does, you must understand what generators are. And before generators come iterables.Aniterable is any Python object capable of returning its members one at a time, permitting it to be iterated over in a for-loop. Ex- iterables include lists, tuples, and strings - any such sequence can be iterated over in a for-loop. In simpler words, whatever that will appear on the right-side of a for-loop: for x in iterable:  is aniterable.Iterablecan be anything that you can loop over with a for loop.An object can becallediterable,if we can get an iterator from iterable. Maximum built-in containers in Python like: list, tuple, string etc. areiterables.Important property(Method) of an iterable is that it has an __iter__() method or iter() method which allows any iterable to return an iterator object. Sequences Sequences are a very common type of iterable. Ex- for built-in sequence types are lists, strings, and tuples.Iterable will support element access using integer indices via the __getitem()__ special method (indexing) and define a __length()__ method that returns the length of the sequence. Also, we can use the slicing technique on them.Other IterablesMany things in Python are iterables, but not all of them are sequences. Dictionaries, file objects, sets, and generators all are iterables, but none of them is a sequence.We can loop over an iterable without using a for loop. Some of us may think that we can use a while loop and generate indices to get this output.It seems that this approach works very well for lists and other sequence objects as well. What about the non-sequence objects? They don’t support indexing, so this approach will not work for them, we will get an error.But how the Python’s for loop works on these iterables then? We can see that it works with sets.When you create a list, you can read its items one by oneWhat is an Iterator? Iterator is an object which can be looped through and maintains its state during the iteration which means it remembers where it is during an iteration. An iterator is an object that enables a programmer to traverse a container, particularly lists. Different types of iterators are often provided via a container's interface. It has a __next__() method that returns the next value from the iteration and updates the state to point at the next value. Iterator is simplyan object that can be iterated upon. An object it will return data, one element at a time.Python iterator object must implement two special methods, that is __iter__() and __next__() , collectively called the iterator protocol.Thepurpose of an iterator is allow to process with every element of a container while isolating the user from the internal structure of the container. The container provides the methods for creating iterators. Iterator is an object and it will represent a stream of data. You can create an iterator object by applying the iter() function to an iterable.Difference between iterable and iterator. Iterable is an object, which can iterate over. It will create an Iterator when passed to iter() method. Iterator is an object, which is used to iterate over an iterable object using __next__() method. For example, a list is iterable but a list is not an iterator.When we will apply the iter() function to an iterable we will get an iterator. If we will call the iter() function on an iterator it will give us itself back in python.You can use an iterator to manually loop over the iterable it came from. if repeated passing of iterator to the built-in function next() it will return successive items in the stream. Once, when you consumed an item from an iterator, it has gone. When data aren’t available it will give us a StopIteration and exception is raised.Iterators also have the __iter__() method and it will return self object.List is an iterable. When you will use a list comprehension, you create a list, and so an iterableThese iterables are handy because you can read them, but you store all the values in memory and it’s not always what you want when you have a lot of values. Iterator Protocol The iterator objects are required to support the following two methods, which together form the iterator protocol: iterator.__iter__() Return the iterator object itself. This is required to allow both containers and iterators to be used with the for statements. iterator.__next__() Return the next item from the container. If there are no items, then it will raise the StopIteration exception. We have seen some examples with iterators. Python has many built-in-classes that are iterators. Ex- an enumerate and reversed objects are iterators. Enumerate ExampleReversed ExampleThe Python’s zip, map and filer objects are also iterators. Explaining the Generators: A Generator is a function use to store the value by using yield keyword. A function which returns a generator iterator. This is a normal function only except that it will contains yield expressions for producing a series of values usable in a for-loop or that can be retrieved one at a time with the next() function in python.If function will contains the yield keyword then that function will become a generator and you can print the value by using for loop.You can convert a function into generator simply you need to use yield keyword in below example you can see that we can use multiple yield statement to return the dataIn above example, we defined new_generator() function in this we have assign a variable n and giving the value as 1 then print the statement and then yield the valueIf we execute generator function as a normal function then it will give us the object so for that we have to store the function in the variable x then we have use next method for executionYielding into Python List:We can use directly generator for making a list and we can store the value inside the mylist then we can print the mylist by using for loopPython Generators with a Loop:In the below example, we defined a function i.e. reverse_string and it is a generator because we are using yield keyword and we are iterating each word from the statementGenerator Expressions in Python: We use a generator function or generator expression when we want to create a custom iterator. They are simpler to use and need less code to achieve the output. Generator expressions are similar to the list comprehensions,Just like a list comprehension, the general expressions are concise. In most cases, they use to written in one line of code.An expression that returns an iterator. It looks like a normal expression followed by a for expression defining a loop variable, range, and an optional if expression ex,We can also add a conditional expression on the iterable. You can see in the above example, we did square root of the even number, we directly print the value without store the single value and we print the class i.e. generator  Explaining the Yield: Yield is a simple statement. Its primary job is to control the flow of a generator function similar tothat return statements. Yield that is used to return from a function without destroying the states of its local variable and when the function is called, the execution starts from the last yield statement. Any function that will present a yield keyword is termed as generator When you call a generator function or use a generator expression, you return a iterator called a generator. You can try to assign this generator to a variable in order to use it. When you will call to special methods on the generator, such as next(), the code within the function is executed till yield. When the yield statement is hit, the program suspends function execution and returns the yielded value to the caller. (Return stops function execution completely.) When a function is suspended, the state of that function is saved. This includes any variable bindings local to the generator in python, the instruction pointer, the internal stack, and any exception handling. This allows you to resume function execution whenever you will call one of the generator’s methods. Like this, all function evaluation picks back up right after yield. You can see this in action by using multiple yield statements:In the above example, we defined a function i.e. counter consist of while loop which has one condition (x < 5) and is yielding the value of x and then it will increment by 1. If we use yield keyword in the function then that function will become as Generator Yield is the special keyword in python, yield will know what it execute in the last time.In the above function, when we executed first time we are getting 0 as output but in the second execution it will increment by 1 and we got 1 as output and again it will iterate the loop till the condition will not satisfy. When we use yield keyword in the function it will store the state of the local variableExample:In the above example, you can see that with the help of yield keyword It is easy to find the word inside the string statement and it will count the number of times that word will occur because yield keyword will know the last state Benefits of yield: Using a yield statement in a function definition is sufficient to cause that definition to create a generator function instead of a normal function. We should use yield when we want to iterate over a sequence but don't want to store the entire sequence in memory yield is used in Python generators. A generator function or expression will defined like a normal function, but whenever it needs to generate a value, it does so with the yield keyword rather than return. Conclusion: In this tutorial, you have learned about Iterable, Generator functions, Yield Iterable: An iterable is something you can loop over. Sequences are a very common type of iterable. So many things in Python are iterables, but not all of them are in sequences. An iterator is an object and it will represent a stream of data. It does the iterating over an iterable. You can use an iterator in python to get the next value or to loop over it. Once, your loop over an iterator, there are no more stream values. Additionally, in Python, the iterators are also iterables which act as their own iterators. However, the difference is that iterators don’t have some of the features that some iterables have. They don’t have length and can’t be indexed. Many built-in classes in Python are iterators. Generator: We have learnt, how to use and write generator functions and generator expressions A generator function is a function which returns an iterator. A generator expression is an expression that returns an iterator. Yield: The yield keyword in python is used to return a value from a function(just like return ) but this keyword also maintains the state of the local variables of the function and when the function is called again in python, the execution is started from the yield statement executed last time.We should use python yield when we want to iterate over a sequence but don't want to store the entire sequence in memory
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Introduction to Yield in Python

When we write a function, which should perform som... Read More