Is Bash easier than Python?

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Python and Bash are both favorite programming languages ​​of automation engineers. But sometimes it can be difficult to choose between them. So you may be looking for articles that indicate which language to choose. But the honest answer is that it depends on the task, the scope, and the complexity of the task.

Python is a high-level programming language based on object-oriented programming, specially designed for web and application development. It is easy to read, implement and is the highly efficient programming language used for general-purpose programming. Python provides error handling features that are friendlier than Bash. There are better debugging tools and utilities than Bash, which makes it a great language when developing complex software applications involving many lines of code. It is known for its consistency and readability. It is easier to maintain and requires the installation of third-party programs. For simple tasks, you need to write more code than Bash. It is better to use Python when the script is greater than 100 LOC.

Whereas Bash is a sh-compatible command language interpreter that executes commands read from standard input or from a file. Python is easier to maintain. Bash is the default user shell on all Linux distributions you know of, as well as macOS, making it relatively faster than Python in terms of performance. Bash is not OOP compliant and only understands the text. L Does not require installation of third-party applications/programs. It lacks many functions, objects, data structures, and multithreading support, which bounds its use in complex scripts or programming. Also, Bash lacks good debugging tools and utilities. Bash is difficult to write and not as powerful as Python. It is more difficult to maintain compared to Python. For smaller scripts, Bash is good.

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is Bash easier than Python
Is Bash easier than Python

Should I learn Bash or Python? 

Both programming languages have advantages and disadvantages that make them better for some tasks than others. And, sometimes it can be hard to choose which one you should learn. The honest answer is: It depends on the type of task you are going to perform, the scope, the content, and the complexity of the task.

Let’s relate these two languages to get a good understanding of where each one twinkles.

Bash:

  • It is a Linux/Unix shell command language, great for writing shell scripts that use command-line interface (CLI) utilities, utilizing output from one command to another (piping), and executing simple tasks (up to 100 lines of code).
  • It has a better startup time than Python but poor execution time performance.
  • Python does not come preinstalled in Windows; your script might not be compatible with multiple operating systems. Bash is a default shell on Linus/Unix.
  • It is not fully compatible with other shells (e.g., csh, zsh, fish)
  • Piping (“”I””) CLI utilities like sed, awk, grep, etc. can slow its performance.
  • It lacks many functions, objects, data structures, and multithreading, which limits its use for complex scripting/ programming.
  • It also lacks good debugging tools and utilities.

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 Python:

  • It is an object-oriented programming (OOP) language, so it’s more general-purpose than Bash.
  • It is practical for almost any task.
  • It works on most major operating systems and is also installed by default on most Unix/Linus systems.
  • It is very similar to writing pseudocode.
  • It has simple, clear, easy-to-learn, easy-to-read syntax.
  • It has lots of libraries, documentation, and an active community. 
  • It provides better error handling features than Bash.
  • It has better debugging tools and utilities than Bash, which makes it a great language for developing complex software applications involving many lines of code.
  • It requires writing more lines of code for a simple task than Bash does.

Bash vs. Python performance

Python and Bash are two different tools used for different purposes. If you are a system administrator, you will likely come across Bash or another scripting language. You might even have used one or more yourself. Scripting languages ​​are computer programming languages ​​often used to accomplish repetitive and tedious tasks at a pace and with an accuracy that far surpasses what you could do without them. They are easier to learn and faster to code than other structured languages ​​like C and C++. They are a way to get tasks done faster.  Python is a valuable tool, specifically because it lets you do your job efficiently. But the million-dollar question arises – is Python better than Bash or any other language?

Bash is not a programming language but a shell designed to quickly insert commands and execute them. Therefore, you run other commands that do your job. No Bash variables are limited, and since the commands are all strings, there’s no reason to be too strict. 

Python, on the other hand, is a more extensive programming language with more language capabilities. Instead of running other programs, you use built-in functions or other functionality from modules (libraries in other languages). Python has more language features and is also one of the easiest languages ​​to learn and teach. There is no language alteration between Python and Bash, but Bash is the default user shell on all famous Linux distributions and macOS, which makes it relatively faster than Python in terms of performance. Bash’s command-line edit modes are the features that tend to attract people first. This is because it is much easier to go back and fix errors or modify previous commands with command line editing.

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Difference between Bash and Python

 

Python and Bash Basics

Python is a highly efficient, easy-to-learn programming language used for general-purpose programming and is based on object-oriented programming. It is one of the fastest-growing programming languages ​​for optimizing development speed and automating low-level tasks. It was specifically designed for web and application development. Bash, on the other hand, is not a programming language but a shell and a command-line interpreter. Bash is the default user shell on all Linux distributions and macOS. It is also available for virtually all other UNIX operating systems, including BSD Unix and Solaris. Bash is a software replacement for the original Bourne shell (sh).

Simplicity in Python and Bash

Simplicity is a deciding factor for writing code that is easy to maintain later. Python makes it simple for users to go back to their own code and work on it after months. It’s also quite simple for them to work on code they haven’t seen before. Python is known for its consistency; start working with Python for a while, and you’ll be able to understand features that are new to you. The shell script is simple, but it’s not as powerful as Python because Bash doesn’t deal with structures, and it’s difficult to write a web browser in Bash, especially when it comes to downloading HTML, CSS, and JavaScript pages and manipulating the user input simultaneously.

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Python and Bash User Interface

Python is the clear winner in terms of a user interface, which makes it one of the popular choices for building local or client-server applications and an ideal choice for interactive applications. Another plus for Python’s excellence is its simple support for object-oriented programming (OOP), which allows you to orderly separate problems and group pieces of functionality into single items. Bash does not support OOP and understands only text, which makes it less intuitive than Python, which is actually easier and more efficient than Bash.

Python vs. Bash Performance

Python is a more extensive general-purpose programming language with more language features and is also one of the easiest languages ​​to learn and teach. There is no language difference between Python and Bash, but Bash is the default user shell on all known Linux distributions and macOS, which makes it relatively faster than Python in terms of performance. Bash’s command-line edit modes are the features that tend to fascinate people first. This is because it is much easier to go back and fix errors or modify previous commands with command line editing.

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Is Bash better than Python?

No programming language is perfect. There is not even one language better than another; there are only languages ​​more or less inadequate with the goals that one proposes. When it comes to the use of Bash and Python, it is recommended not to use shell scripts for the following:

  • For tasks requiring a lot of resources, especially when speed is an essential factor (sorting, hashing, recursion).
  • For procedures involving many complex mathematical operations, especially floating-point arithmetic, arbitrary precision calculations, and complex numbers.
  • For cross-platform portability.
  • For complex applications where structured programming is necessary (typing of variables, prototyping of functions, etc.).
  • For critical applications on which you rely on the future of your company.
  • For situations where security is important, where you need to ensure the integrity of your system and to protect yourself against intrusions and vandalism.
  • For projects consisting of many components with interlocked dependencies.
  • When large file operations are required (Bash is limited to serial file access, line by line, which is particularly clunky and inefficient).
  • Whether native multidimensional arrays support is needed.
  • If you need data structures such as linked lists or trees.
  • If you need to generate or manipulate graphics or a user interface (GUI).
  • When direct access to hardware or external peripherals is required.
  • When you need to access a port, an input/output socket.
  • If you need to use libraries or a proprietary interface.
  • For proprietary, closed-source applications (the sources of the shells are necessarily visible to everyone).

If you find yourself in any of the above situations, consider using a more powerful scripting language, like Python or even a compiled language such as C, C ++, or Java. However, even in this case, prototyping the application with a shell script can still be a useful development step.

Python and Bash in same script

Embedding Python in a shell script

The original shell script test.sh:

#!/bin/bash

Function main()

{                 

echo”[email protected]” 

exit0

}

main”[email protected]

./test.sh t1 t2 t3 Results of the:

[email protected]:~$ ./test.sh t1 t2 t3 

t1 t2 t3

Embedded single-line Python, such as cutting a string or something

#!/bin/bash

function main()

{

           echo “[email protected]” 

           result=$(python3 -c ‘import sys; print(sys.argv[1].split(“,”))’ “[email protected]”)

           echo “$result”

           exit 0

}

main “[email protected]

/test.sh t1,t2,t3 Results of the:

[email protected]:~$ ./test.sh t1,t2,t3 

t1,t2,t3 

[‘t1’, ‘t2’, ‘t3’]   

In fact, it is to call the Python program directly, the output of the program is equivalent to the return value that can be passed to the variable, here is directly assigned to result, the value $() can be obtained, and the “”can also be used. It seems a bit complicated, but in fact, it result=$(echo 123) is the same thing, except that echo 123 is replaced by a line of a Python script. If you just let Python implement some functions and don’t care about the return value, you done don’t need to ”print” anything at all.

Embed multi-line python:

#!/bin/bash

function getNum()

{

           python3 – “[email protected]” <<END

#!/usr/bin/python3

import sys

if __name__ == “__main__”:

   

print(len(sys.argv[1].split(“,”)))

END

}

function main()

{

echo “[email protected]” 

num=`getNum “[email protected]”`

echo”arg number : $num”

exit 0

}

main ” “[email protected]””

Between the two lines of END, you can write a lot of Python code as usual.

It should be noted that the indentation is manually indented with spaces, otherwise there will be illegal indentation problems.

./test.sh 123,123,123 Results of the:

[email protected]:~$ ./test.sh 123,123,123

123,123,123

arg number: 3

Once you have mastered these two writing methods, you can repeatedly jump across Python and shell to achieve various functions. Frequently call system commands with shell, and complex functional logic is done directly with Python, such as how to modify configuration files. Doing this in the shell is strenuous.

However, these application scenarios are also limited. Usually, we recommend writing them in different files to call each other. Unless some special scenarios need to be written in the same file as much as possible, you can refer to the above writing.

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Is Bash difficult to learn?

The Bash (Bourne Again Shell) is, of course, the shell most used in the world. It is used by default on all Linux distributions and also on MacOSX. Therefore, the command of its language and commands is essential for programmers who do not exclusively use the Windows environment. In fact, with Cygwin, it is possible to have all the power of Bash and other GNU tools on Windows, greatly increasing developer productivity. Bash is not a programming language, but a Shell designed to quickly insert commands and execute them. Therefore, you run other commands that do your job (for example, mvmove files and directories). No Bash variables are limited, and since the commands are all strings, there’s no reason to be too strict. (Although it is possible to force types, see). help declare.

Bash is mainly a batch/shell scripting language with much less support for various data types and various quirks in control structures. If you want to piece together a quick tool with minimal effort, Bash is good. For the packaging of an application, Bash is very valuable. But Bash can be a little difficult to learn at first, and, like everything else in computing, it took some getting used to and memorizing the appropriate commands. We then present some websites to help in this learning process.

Learning the shell presents the entire structure of the file system Linux in addition to teaching important command file handling and concepts related to input/output and standard pipes.

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Is Bash a programming language?

GNU Bash or simply Bash (Bourne-again shell) is a UNIX shell and command language. Bash is a shell, not a programming language. You can write shell scripts, yes, but the commands all have to do with files and processes and other things that shells handle, so a shell scripting language is not an auxiliary for a general-purpose programming language.

Bash is a command processor that generally runs in a text window where the user types command that cause actions. Bash can also read and execute commands from a file, known as a shell script.

Knowing the commands and handling of scripts in Bash is essential to carry out a multitude of bioinformatics tasks, the fact that it allows us to carry out scripts that operate directly on system commands will allow us to automate tasks saving a lot of time and effort.

Bash Syntax

The Bash command syntax is a superset of statements based on Bourne interpreter syntax. The definitive specification of Bash command syntax can be found in the Bash Reference Manual distributed by the GNU project. This section highlights some of its unique features.

Most Bourne shell scripts can be executed by Bash without any changes, with the exception of those Bourne shell scripts that refer to special Bourne variables or that use a Bourne’s internal order. The Bash command syntax includes ideas taken from the Korn shell (ksh) and C shells (csh) shells, such as command-line editing, command history, directory stack, $ RANDOM, and $ PPID variables. , and the POSIX command substitution syntax: $ (…). When used as an interactive shell, Bash provides auto-completion of program names, file names, variable names, and so on when the user presses the TAB key.

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Is Bash slow?

Bash is mainly a batch/shell scripting language with much less support for various data types and various quirks in control structures. If you want to piece together a quick tool with minimal effort, Bash is good. For the packaging of an application, Bash is very valuable.

Anything that may allow you to repeatedly add improvements may (although not always) be more suitable for languages ​​like Python because more than 1,000 lines of Bash code will be difficult to maintain. If you need a correct programming environment that supports floating points and various control streams, then Python will win. If you write a recursion algorithm in Bash and Python, then the Python version will win an order of magnitude or more. Bash code is also very annoying when debugging. If you care about performance, you can only use Bash:

  • It’sIt’s really simple, often referred to as a script
  • Mainly call scripts of other processes
  • When minimal friction between manual management operations and scripts is required-quickly check some commands and put them in file.sh

Bash is the user shell on every Linux distribution you know about as well as macOS, by default, which makes it relatively faster than Python in terms of performance. While it is true that Bash can be faster than Python for some selected tasks, it can never be as fast to develop, or as easy to maintain. Bash’sBash’s only strong point with respect to Python or Ruby ​​or Lua, etc., is its ubiquity. 

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Conclusion

Python is a high-level programming language based on object-oriented programming, specially designed for web and application development. Whereas, Bash (Bourne Again Shell) is, of course, the shell most used in the world. It is used by default on all Linux distributions. Bash is a sh-well-matched command language interpreter that executes commands read from standard input or from a file. No programming language is perfect. There is not even one language better than another; there are only languages ​​more or less inadequate with the goals that one proposes. Anything that may allow you to repeatedly add improvements may be more suitable for languages ​​like Python because more than 1,000 lines of Bash code will be difficult to maintain. Bash is not a programming language, but a Shell designed to quickly insert commands and execute them. Therefore, you run other commands that do your job. No Bash variables are limited, and since the commands are all strings, there’s no reason to be too strict. 

Python, on the other hand, is a more extensive programming language, with more language capabilities. Instead of running other programs, you use built-in functions or other functionality from modules (libraries in other languages). Python has more language features and is also one of the easiest languages ​​to learn and teach. 

Bash can be faster than Python for some selected tasks; it can never be as fast to develop, or as easy to maintain. Bash’sBash’s only strong point with respect to Python or Ruby ​​or Lua, etc., is its ubiquity.

References

https://www.tutorialspoint.com/difference-between-python-and-bash

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Python_(programming_language)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bash_(Unix_shell)

https://geekflare.com/python-run-bash/

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Luis Gillman
Luis Gillman

Hi, I Am Luis Gillman CA (SA), ACMA
I am a Chartered Accountant (SA) and CIMA (SA) and author of Due Diligence: A strategic and Financial Approach.

The book was published by Lexis Nexis on 2001. In 2010, I wrote the second edition. Much of this website is derived from these two books.

In addition I have published an article entitled the Link Between Due Diligence and Valautions.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information published on this website is accurate, the author and owners of this website take no responsibility  for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relience upon the information contained therein.  Furthermore the bulk of the information is derived from information in 2018 and use therefore is at your on risk. In addition you should consult professional advice if required.