Object-oriented programming (OOP) is a computer programming principle that focuses on building the software design around “objects” instead of logic or function. An object refers to a data field possessing unique attributes (characteristics). Essentially, OOP places more emphasis on the manipulation of objects rather than the logic behind the manipulation.
Even though C++ and Java are both object-oriented programming languages, they are quite different from each other. For instance, C++ draws inspiration heavily from the C programming language and is designed for system development. However, Java is based on a secure and portable virtual machine and is explicitly built for application programming and network computing.
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In this blog, we’ll dive deeper into the C++ vs. Java debate and learn more about the difference between C++ and Java.
C++ vs. Java: A brief discussion of their history
What is C++?
C++ is an intermediate-level programming language that combines the features of the C and Simula (first OOP language) programming languages. C++ encompasses both high-level and low-level features, and it was the first programming language to introduce the concepts of Class and Objects. It is compatible with the major platforms, such as Windows, Mac OS, and also UNIX.
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History of C++
Bjarne Stroustrup developed C++ at AT & T Bell Laboratories in the year 1979. Stroustrup had a vision of juxtaposing the best features of C and Simula languages. The idea was to design a language that retains the power of C while also supporting object-oriented programming. Stroustrup developed C++ “with a bias toward system programming and resource-constrained, embedded software applications and large-scale systems. The core highlights of C++ are high performance, efficiency, and flexibility.
What is the Java language?
Java is a high-level, class-based OOP language that is based on the WORA (write once, run anywhere) principle. This means that compiled Java code can seamlessly run on all platforms without needing any recompilation. Typically, Java applications are compiled into bytecode to run on any Java virtual machine (JVM), irrespective of the underlying system architecture. Java’s syntax is pretty similar to C and C++ – it features lesser low-level dependencies.
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History of Java
Originally, Java was developed by Sun Microsystems. Sun Microsystems launched the language as the main component of the Java platform in the year 1995. In 2009, after Oracle Corporation acquired Sun Microsystems, it became the owner and host of Java and Solaris, the two top-class assets of Sun Microsystems.
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C++ vs. Java: The differences between C++ and Java
Here are the main differences between C++ and Java:
While C++ is primarily designed for system programming, Java is built for application programming and is now extensively used for developing web-based, enterprise, and mobile applications.
As C++ combines procedural and object-oriented programming, it does not have a strict root hierarchy. Java is a pure OOP language that follows a single root hierarchy.
C++ is a platform-dependent language, but Java is platform-independent. So, you have to compile the C++ source code on every platform. However, once you compile the source code into bytecode for Java, you can efficiently execute it on any other platform.
Compiler & interpreter
Since C++ is a compiled language, the C++ source code is first compiled into object code and then executed to generate an output. Java is a compiled and interpreted language. The compiled output of a Java source code is a platform-independent bytecode.
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In C++, there’s no stringent relationship between class names and filenames. Thus, you can have multiple classes in a C++ program and set anything as their filename (the filename and class name need not be the same. Contrary to this, Java enforces a strict relationship between the source code class and the filename. So, the class containing the source code and the filename must be the same.
C++ supports manual memory management. Thus, you need to allocate or deallocate memory manually using the “new” and “delete” functions. Contrarily, Java supports system-controlled memory management.
C++ supports both single and multiple inheritances, but Java only supports single inheritance. For multiple inheritances in Java, you need to use Java interfaces.
C++ supports the overloading of methods and operators. This process is known as static polymorphism. Java allows only method overloading.
Since C++ features dynamic polymorphism, it uses a virtual keyword with a function to indicate that the particular function can be overridden in the derived class. The virtual keyword concept is absent in Java – only the non-static methods can be overridden by default.
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C++ lacks built-in support for threads, and instead, it relies on third-party libraries for thread support. Unlike C++, Java has built-in thread support. You can inherit any thread class and override the run method.
C++ offers robust support for pointers and allows developers to write powerful programs using pointers. However, Java has limited support for pointers. So, you cannot use pointers in Java as naturally as you can while writing a C++ program.
Documentation comment support
While C++ offers no support for documentation comments, Java supports documentation comments. You can use (/** … */) to create documentation comments for Java source code.
C++ supports the goto statement, whereas Java does not support the goto statement.
C++ has support for both call by value and call by reference, while Java only supports call by value.
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To conclude, C++ and Java sport numerous differences despite being OOP languages. We hope this article offers you a better understanding of the key differences between C++ and Java.
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Q1. Are C++ and C# similar programming languages?
Both C++ and C# (pronounced as C sharp) have similar code structures at a very fundamental level. However, C# was introduced or launched much later than C++. Both are object-oriented programming languages, but C++ is essentially a mid-level language, whereas C# is high-level. C# is mainly used to write code meant to run on the .NET framework. C++ is a very powerful language that can be used to develop operating systems, browsers, games, and console apps. They are compiled languages and are derived from the C programming language; they share many similarities in syntax and symbols.
Q2. Which is easier to learn – C++ or Java?
Most programming language experts say that Java is easier to learn than C++. The syntax of Java is more straightforward than that of C++, for which beginners find it easy to understand and write code in Java. In the case of C++, the syntax requirements are stringent, which often makes it difficult to write code in a simple manner using this programming language such that it becomes easy to read. The slightest mistake in writing code using C++ can lead to a series of errors in the program. Java is a universal language and can be used to develop different kinds of high-level apps, games and websites.
Q3. What are the applications of C++ in the real world?
Starting from developing scientific applications to games, C++ can be used to create multitudes of software applications. Many of the devices that we use every day are programmed using C++ - from our smartphones to computers to video games, and even in space research, the power of this programming language is realized across each and every industrial sector today. Operating systems that we daily interact with, namely iOS, Mac OS and Windows, are created using C++, as well as IoT devices like our smartwatches, many medical appliances, TVs and more. Safari, Chrome, Firefox and several other popular internet browsers are also powered by C++.