Which Both C and C++ are general-purpose programming languages. In fact, C++ is a descendant of C, which means they share some features. However, over the last few years, C vs. C++ has become a hot topic because these programming languages started to differentiate more and more.
What is the difference between C and C++? Well, C++ is for handling complex tasks that C was not able to perform. For instance, C++ offers a stronger type checking and allows more programming styles than C.
This programming language is called C because it was based on a little-known language called B and the name C was an alphabetical joke. However, this improvement of B led to the creation of an entirely new programming language.
One difference between C and C++ is that C is a procedural language since it follows a step-by-step procedure consisting of functions. Additionally, C is a low-level language that is more complicated for beginners to learn than high-level languages like Python or C#.
In other words, C provides instructions for the computer in the top-down approach. In contrast, C++ is object-oriented instead of procedure-oriented. It means that C++ focuses on inheritance (when a class gets properties and characteristics from another class), code reusability, encapsulation (hiding information about objects), and creating objects.
C programs are usually high-speed. Why? Well, programming languages like Python offer additional procedures that make their programs slower. However, C is a language that lets developers handle computer hardware manually. While this is an advantage in terms of performance, it means that C developers have to prevent memory leaks and allocate memory themselves.
What is C used for? C is mostly involved in the creation of operating systems, language compilers or interpreters, embedded systems, microcontrollers, etc. For instance, C is very useful for machine learning as well. However, the leading language for ML is Python due to its simplicity and user-friendliness. Game development is also a rich area for C developers.
In terms of C vs. C++, the latter can do everything that C can. Both of them are general-purpose, low-level programming languages, and they have multiple similarities:
- They require the compilation in every operating system to work.
- Both support manual memory management. They do not offer garbage collectors that would free memory from unused objects.
- Due to the lack of additional processing (such as automatic garbage collection), C and C++ are more lightweight and offer high-performance.
- Since they both are general-purpose programming languages, their use cases are very broad (starting from the creation of operating systems and leading to machine learning).
- Both are low-level languages, meaning that they are closer to the hardware and provide more control over projects.
Main differences between C and C++
Comparing C++ vs. C reveals a few differences between these two programming languages:
- C is a procedural language, while C++ is object-oriented. This feature refers to the programming style that developers follow. For instance, procedural programming follows step-by-step guidelines of functions, while object-oriented programming focuses on objects, inheritance, etc.
- C++ has a well-designed exception handling (Try and Catch blocks), which makes the debugging process easier than in C. This feature is especially useful for finding difficult errors. In C, error handling occurs through functions.
- C++ also supports information hiding (closely related to encapsulation).
- Data is more secure in C++ than in C because C++ offers modifiers to limit user access.
- C++ supports function overloading, which means that a function with the same name can be declared for different purposes.
- C++ also uses namespaces, which let you organize code according to the desired scope. For instance, grouped entities can be put into a narrower scope referred to as namespace scope. C does not support this feature.
- Specialists relate C++ to the concept of multi-paradigm. Even though we classified C++ as an object-oriented language, it has features of procedural one as well. Therefore, C++ is more flexible than C since C only follows the procedural logic.
Therefore, the comparison of C vs. C++ syntax rules leads to a few important conclusions:
- The use of C and C++ differs in a way that you will follow different programming approaches.
- With C++, developers can follow both procedural and object-oriented programming.
- C allows only procedural programming.
- C++ offers more features such as error handling, data security, scope management, information hiding, etc.
- However, for beginners, C language might be more straightforward and helpful in terms of understanding the main concepts of low-level programming.