C++ vs Java: What are the Key Differences?

By | March 26, 2022
C++ vs Java

C++ and Java both support object-oriented programming and are statically typed programming languages. Though there are many similarities between Java and C++, the two programming languages are not interchangeable.

There was a time when C++ and Java competed to become the most popular programming language. Moreover, the reason for their extended popularity in their early years was that they both support object-oriented programming (OOP), and at that time there were not many languages that follows OOP.

For a beginner, it is always tough to make a choice between C++ and Java. However, most of the time it is suggested that C++ is a better language to learn for beginners because it is not a pure object-oriented language.

This article draws a simple comparison between C++ and Java that can help beginners to make a choice between the two programming languages. But before we move on to discuss C++ vs Java, let’s have a quick overview of each programming language.

Introduction to C++

C++ is a high-level, general-purpose programming language that supports multiple programming paradigms, such as object-oriented, functional, and procedural programming. It is developed by Bjarne Stroustrup at Bell Labs as an extension of the C programming language.

It is a procedural language, which means it executes code line by line and supports the function structure programming. Apart from procedural programming, C++ also has extensive support for object-oriented programming, which helps a lot to solve real-world problems.

It is also a statically typed language, which simply means that for every variable, we have to define its data type. Also, C++ is a popular choice for designing graphical applications.

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Introduction to Java

Java is also a high-level programming language that is developed by Sun Microsystems. It is a pure object-oriented programming language, and it is generally used to build software for different operating systems.

Like C++, Java is also a statically typed programming language and share almost the same syntax as C++. It uses the compiler to compile its source code to bytecode and this bytecode is platform-independent.

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Java vs C++: Head to Head Comparison

Java

C++

Programming Type

Java is an object-oriented programming language.

C++ is a procedural as well as an object-oriented programming language.

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Translator tools

Java uses a compiler as well as an interpreter to execute its source code.

C++ only uses a compiler to execute its source code.

Operator Overloading

In operator overloading, we can alter the functionality of operators such as +, *, – etc. and Java does not have inbuilt support for operator overloading.

C++ has support for operator overloading

Multiple Inheritance

In multiple inheritance, the property of one class can be inherited by many classes, and Java does not support multiple inheritance.

However, newer updates of Java provide some support for multiple inheritance.

C++ supports multiple inheritance.

Build Applications

Java is used to build applications for different operating systems.

C++ is limited to building applications for Windows.

Libraries

Libraries are the pre-written codes that programmers can use to add various features to applications with minimal effort, and Java has many libraries.

C++ doe not have many libraries as Java.

Learning Curve

Java is a difficult language to learn.

C++ is easy to learn as compared to Java.

Pointer

Java does not have pointers.

C++ uses the pointer to store the memory address of variables.

Threads

Java comes with an in-built thread class that can be inherited in working-class

C++ does not have the concept of the thread.

Interoperability with other programming languages

There is no backward compatibility in Java, but it follows the interoperability with the Scala programming language.

C++ can interoperate with the C language with some syntax changes.

Principle

Write once run anywhere everywhere

Write once run anywhere

Code execution

Source code is compiled by the compiler and converted into bytecode, then the byte code is executed by the interpreter.

Source code is compiled by the compiler and get executed.

Memory Management

Java Compiler automatically controls the memory.

Users can control memory manually.

Scope resolution

There is no scope resolution (::) in Java to access a global variable.

C++ supports the scope resolution concept.

Destructor

Java compiler handles all the memory management, so there is no concept of destructor

In C++, programmers can access the memory, so it has the concept of destructor.

Portability

Once the source code is compiled and we have a bytecode, we can run it on any platform that has Java Virtual Machine (JVM). This also eliminates the need to compile the code every time we want to run it.

We have to compile the C++ source code every time we try to run it on a system or platform.

Inbuilt-Structure

Java has threads and interfaces.

C++ has structure, pointers, and union

Polymorphism

Java automatically uses static and Dynamic Binding.

Programmers have to explicitly assign syntax for dynamic bunding.

Conclusion

Java and C++ share almost the same syntax for many important statements. Also, there is no prerequisite to learning these languages, which makes them ideal for individuals who are looking to step into the world of programming.

However, we suggest that you should learn C++ as your first programming language because it follows the procedural programming paradigm, which helps you to build logical reasoning and help you understand program flow better. Still, it’s important for you to understand the differences between the two languages and choose a programming language that seems the best fit for your needs.

Hopefully, this C++ vs Java article helped you get familiar with all the essential differences between the two programming languages. Also, if you have suggestions or queries, just leave them in the comments sections below.

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Author: Vinay Singh

I am a Full Stack Developer with a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science, who also loves to write technical articles that can help fellow developers.

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