Here in this article, we have provided a head-to-head comparison between C++ and C# programming languages – C++ vs C# – so you could get an idea about which programming language to choose and how both the programming languages are different from each other.
Selecting a specific programming language for any project could be a tough call, and for a complete beginner choosing the first programming language is difficult and sometimes confusing. The selection of a particular programming language becomes more confusing if it has variants. If you are a computer science student, then you must have heard of C++ and C# languages.
Both programming languages start with C but do not confuse them with the C programming language. Nonetheless, both the languages are the extension of the C language, but we do not refer to them as different versions of C. Before comparing both languages, let’s have a brief introduction of each programming language.
What is C++?
C++ is a general-purpose programming language that was introduced as an extension of the C programming language. It was created by Bjarne Stroustrup at Bell Labs, and the main purpose of designing the C++ language is to add OOPs to the C language.
If we talk about a beginner, C++ is one of the best programming languages to start the programming journey. Though in the current scenario, we do not use C++ so often to solve real-world problems but learning C++ could help a student to learn how to implement different data structures using a programming language. Because of its simple syntax, learning C++ is easy as compared to its predecessor, i.e., C.
Features of C++
The following are the salient features of C++:
- Unlike C, C++ is an object-oriented programming (OOP) language, improving code clarity and readability.
- C++ is a machine-independent programming language, meaning that you can transfer instructions from one operating system to another. It follows the WORA (Write Once, Run Anywhere) principle.
- The syntax of C++ closely resembles the C language, making it easier to understand and learn for those having sound knowledge of C.
- It is a multi-paradigm programming language that follows three programming principles, namely generic, imperative, and object-oriented.
- C++ is referred to as an intermediate-level programming language since it supports the features of high-level and low-level languages. With the features of a high-level language, you can use it to develop desktop applications and games. On the other hand, C++’s low-level capability makes it easier to develop drivers and kernels.
- It is a compiler-based language, meaning that a code is converted into low-level or machine language. And, the resulting program is much faster and more efficient than interpreter-based languages, like Python.
- C++ allows allocating memory dynamically since it supports the use of pointers.
Applications of C++
C++ is used for developing:
- GUI-based Applications.
- Database Software.
- Operating Systems.
- Banking Applications.
- Cloud System.
Limitations of C++
Below are some significant limitations of C++:
- It is pretty challenging to debug pointer bugs in C++.
- C++ does not support garbage collectors, resulting in redundant data and, in turn, increases memory storage.
- It is a less flexible language when it comes to syntax, as a little mistake would result in multiple errors.
- It has a steep learning curve.
What is C#?
Also an extension of the C programming language, Csharp is a high-level, object-oriented programming language developed by Microsoft in 2002. C# was designed to run an application on the .NET framework, which is a web framework by Microsoft to develop apps for Windows.
Features of C#:
- C# is a simple language and easy to learn, as it follows a structured approach, possesses a rich set of library functions and data types.
- Like C++, C# is also an object-oriented programming language.
- It is more secure than C++, as it is a type-safe programming language. You cannot perform unsafe type casts, such as converting double to boolean.
- It features automatic memory management and garbage collection.
- C# is a modern language since it is based on the current trend and is effective in building scalable and interoperable applications.
Applications of C#:
Below is the list of different types of applications developed using C#:
- Windows client applications.
- Web applications.
- Windows libraries and components.
- Backend services.
- Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
- Video games.
- Azure cloud applications and services.
- Gaming systems and consoles.
Limitations of C#:
- It is a less flexible language since it mostly depends on the .Net framework.
- As C# mostly depends on the .Net framework, the server running an application should be Windows-based.
- It has a poor x-platform GUI.
Difference Between C# and C++ (C++ vs C#)
While C++ is a general-purpose programming language that is not a pure object-oriented programming language, C# is a pure object-oriented programming language that is also general-purpose but ideal for web development in conjunction with .NET. Other important differences among the two popular programming languages are as follows:
1) Language Type
C++ offers features of a high-level programming language but is also a low-level programming language because of the direct access to the memory. On the contrary, C# is only a high-level programming language.
2) Code Compilation
In C++, before execution, the code gets compiled into binary code or machine code. C# code gets compiled into binary code and then is interpreted.
3) Binary Size
After code compilation, the binary of C++ is small in size. The code of C#, however, contains much overhead and libraries, which make its compiled binary-code heavy.
4) Memory Management
In C#, garbage collectors perform all the memory management automatically. This is not the case in C++, where users have manual control over memory management. Thus, they can manually create and destroy objects.
5) Platform Dependency
C++ code is platform-independent. Hence, it can be compiled and executed on any platform. Unlike C++, C# is not platform-independent. It strictly adheres to Windows. Although Microsoft is trying to make it platform-independent, yet many platforms do not support C#.
The execution of C# code is slower than that of the C++ code.
7) Multiple Inheritance
C++ supports multiple inheritance while C# does not.
8) Learning Curve
C++ is complex, and so implementing complex programs using C++ is tough and tedious. C# does not have complex features since it follows a simple hierarchy that is easy to learn and understand.
9) Pointer Support
C++ allows using pointers wherever we want. This is not the case in C#, where we can only use a pointer in the Unsafe mode.
10) Bound Checking
If we try to access an invalid array index in C++, it will not throw an error. In C#, however, if we try to access an out of bounds array index, it will throw a compilation error.
C++ is used to build console-based applications but is also suitable to build desktop applications because it gives GUI support. On the other hand, C# mostly focuses on web-based applications. Mobile and desktop applications can also be built on it regardless.
C++ vs C#: A Head-to-Head Comparison
|It is both a high-level and low-level programming language.||C# is a high-level programming language.|
|C++ code is compiled into binary code or machine code prior to the execution.||C# code first gets compiled into binary code and then interpreted.|
|C++ binary is lightweight.||The binary size for C# is large.|
|The user has manual control over the memory management in C++.||In C#, garbage collectors perform memory management.|
|C++ code is platform-independent.||C# code is not platform-independent.|
|C++ is not a pure object-oriented programming language.||It is a pure object-oriented programming language.|
|Compared to C#, C++ is faster.||C# code is slower than its C++ equivalent.|
|C++ supports multiple inheritance.||There is no multiple inheritance in Csharp.|
|C++ is complex and thus requires a good amount of time for learning.||C# has a low learning curve.|
|Pointers can be used anywhere in C++.||In C#, we can only use a pointer in the Unsafe mode.|
|An error is thrown in C++ if we try to access an invalid array index.||If we try to access an out of bounds array index, it will throw a compilation error in C#.|
|C++ is ideal for building console-based and desktop applications.||Although we can also develop mobile and desktop applications in C#, it is ideal for web development.|
C# vs C++ – When to Use?
Both C++ and C# are popularly used in developing video games. C++ is mostly used for developing operating systems, browsers, database software, libraries, and compilers. On the other hand, you can use C# for building mobile applications, desktop applications, websites, cloud-based services, and enterprise software.
That wraps up our C++ vs C# article. Both the programming languages are extensions of C, and both have their advantages and disadvantages. C++ is mostly used to build desktop applications, while C# is ideal for developing web applications.
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