Difference Between C and C++ (2024)

Table Of Contents

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  • Introduction
  • Difference Between C and C++
  • What is C?
    • Key Features of C Programming
  • What is C++?
    • Key Features Of C++
  • Example
    • C Program to Add Two Integers
    • C++ Program to Add Two Integers
  • Conclusion
  • Frequently Asked Questions
    • Q.1: Is C++ better than C?
    • Q.2: How are C and C++ different?
    • Q.3: Is C easier than C++?
    • Q.4: Is C still used?
    • Q.5: What can C++ do that C Cannot?
  • Additional Resources

Introduction

In the world of programming languages, C and C++ have become highly prominent languages that have been around for a long time and are popular topics among developers. C and C++ are two of the most widely used programming languages that can be used for many things, from software development, game development, and database design, to operating systems development, and more.

The main difference between C and C++ is that C is revered as the “God” of programming languages whereas C++ was developed as an extension of C. As two of the most widely used languages, the choice between C and C++ can be challenging for developers. In this article, we will explore key differences between C and C++, their respective features, and examples. This will help developers in making informed decisions about their projects. Let’s dive in now

Difference Between C and C++

ParameterCC++
Programming StyleThe C programming language is a procedural language type.The language is function-driven.C++ is an object-oriented programming language type. The language is object-driven.
ApproachC programming follows a top to down programming approach that focuses on the steps rather than the data.C++ follows a bottom-to-top approach that focuses on data rather than the overall procedure.
Program DivisionAs C is a structured programming language, the program is divided into blocks known as functions which can be viewed as individual components of the program.As C++ is an object-oriented programming language, the code consists of Objects and Classes.
Data TypesC supports built-in data types. C is a basic version of a programming language and supports only primitive, fixed data types.Besides built-in data types, C++ also supports user-defined data types. C++ is an enhanced version of C and supports generic data types.
Exception HandlingC does not support exception handling, i.e., support in times of ‘hard’ errors causing code problems.C++ supports exception handling and provides efficient support during errors and incorrect codes.
Application DevelopmentThis programming language is more suitable for assemblers, text editors, network drivers, and low-level implementations.C++ programming language is suitable and extensible for high-end programming including game development, embedded systems like smartwatches, medical machines, etc.
CompatibilityC is the foundational language and, hence, the code written with C can be run with the C++ compiler.C++ is the superset of the C language including OOP concepts and hence, cannot run the code in the C compiler.
File Extension.c is the file extension for the C programming language..cpp is the file extension for C++.
Ease Of CodingAlso known as Hands-on language which means C allows the programmer to tell everything. Therefore, one can program it the way we want. It is easy.C++ is a more object-oriented high-level programming language which requires fixed construction and principles. However, it is easier to code.
Data SecurityC programming language does not adhere to the encapsulation concept and allows easy data manipulation from outside code.C++ is a more secure programming language.
Inline FunctionC does not support inline functions.C++ supports inline functions.
VariableA variable is like a storage location and in C it needs to be defined at the beginning itself.Variables in C++ can be declared anytime.
NamespaceTo organize the code for efficiency and prevent collisions, the namespace is required. C does not support that.C++ as a flexible programming language supports namespace.
Source codeC was the base of many foundational languages and is itself known for its free format source code.C++ was developed, and inspired by the C programming language.
Used ByMicrosoft Windows Kernel, Telegram Messenger, Oracle Database, MySQL, etc.Google Chrome, Microsoft Office, Torque 3-D game engine, and so many more.
Header FilesThe C language uses a <studio.h> header file.The C++ language uses a <iostream.h> header file.
Access ModifiersNo access modifiers are present in the C structure.Access modifiers are used in C++ structures.
Memory Allocation/De-allocationFor dynamic memory allocation, C provides the malloc() and calloc() functions, as well as free() function for memory de-allocation.With C++, memory allocation can be performed by a new operator, and memory de-allocation can be accomplished by a delete operator.
InheritanceInheritance is not supported by C.Inheritance is supported in C++.
FocusThe C language focuses on methods or processes instead of data.Rather than focusing on methods or procedures, C++ focuses on data.
Virtual and Friend functionsThe C language does not support virtual functions or friend functions.In C++, virtual functions and friend functions are supported.

What is C?

Difference Between C and C++ (1)

C is a general-purpose, structured programming language that was introduced for system development work i.e., programs that make up the operating systems. It soon gained popularity for several application developments because of its flexibility, faster execution, and simplicity.

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It was developed in the year 1972 by computer scientist Dennis Ritchie at the Bell Laboratories. C is known by the name of God’s programming language, as it forms the base of many of the modern-day languages you might have been studying today like Python, Java, C++, and many more.

The prevalence and versatility of C can be highlighted through the most popular applications and software built with this language. From working on different operating systems like Windows, Apple OS X, and Symbian to mobile and desktop operating systems; From Language compilers, Network Drivers to one of the most known applications like MYSQL, Adobe, etc.

Key Features of C Programming

C and C++, as we have read above, have their complexities, purposes, goals, and advantages. And before jumping on the comparison of C vs C++, we should read about the features of both of them as well.

  • Simple: C programming language is one of the oldest programming languages and is known for its simplicity and easy-to-understand format. It forms the base for many programming languages and therefore, many programmers prefer C as a good starting point for beginners.
  • Portable: The C programming language is adaptable to different platforms and systems. This means that if you have written your code on one platform, you can port or run it on different platforms as well for modifications or updates. This is why C is called the machine-independent language.
  • Procedural or Structural Language: C language uses a particular flow of the program to run the code. It breaks the code into small blocks for differential functioning and minimizes the complexities.
  • Case Sensitive: The C programming language is case sensitive and will treat ‘C’ and ‘c’ as different variables.
  • Dynamic Memory Allocation: C supports dynamic memory allocation. It means C allows memory space during the run time as well. It plays to the advantage of the programmer because they cannot know beforehand the space or memory required while running the code.
  • Rich Library: To provide programmers with a better and simple coding experience, C gives them a library with built-in functions or user-defined functions. C has a rich library that caters to varied needs and requirements.
  • Speed: C programming is not only simple and efficient. It is also faster. In comparison to programming languages like Java and Python, C provides rapid performance as it is a compiler-based language.

Read More – C Language Features

What is C++?

Difference Between C and C++ (2)

C++ or C with Classes is a general-purpose object-oriented programming language that is used to create high-performing applications. C++ was earlier known by the name of C with classes as it was an amalgamation of C and Simula67 (the first object-oriented language). It means that with the properties of the C programming language, C++ also introduced the concepts of classes and objects for user-defined data types.

The origin of C++ goes back to 1979, developed by Bjarne Stroustrup. The idea behind C++ was, as the name suggests, to bring about a general-purpose language that should not be limited to a specific use. It is used with Operating systems, high-end libraries, cloud-distributed systems, compilers, game development, smartwatches, graphic applications and so much more.

Today, C++ isn’t just an extension of C programming language, but, with three modern updates and high-end performance, it is changing its position from merely a language extension into one of the most popular and in-demand programming languages on the market.

C++ forms the base for programmers to learn about object-oriented programming more simply and thoroughly.

Key Features Of C++

Here are some of the key features of the C++ programming language:

  • Static Type System: C++ is a compiler-based language. It means that before executing or running the code, we need to use a compiler that makes it understandable to the computer.
  • Fast and Powerful: As C++ is a compiler-based language, it enhances and makes the execution of the code faster. Plus, with an extensive assortment of functions and data types, etc, it makes the language powerful and a sure choice for programmers.
  • Pointers: A point in the C++ language holds the address of a particular object. It is a feature that allows programmers to use pointers for interacting with the functions, arrays, memory and structures with less code and rapidly.
  • Object-Oriented Language: The language C++ was an extension to the procedural programming language C, and as such included the OOP (object-oriented programming) concepts like Polymorphism, Encapsulation, Abstraction, Inheritance, etc.
  • Extensible: C++ programming language is known for its extensibility because it is flexible in adapting to new features and any modifications in design.
  • Additional Features: It is to be noted that since C++ is a superset of the programming language C, it includes all the features of C as well, like dynamic memory allocation, rich library, structured programming, portability, etc.

Read more: Top C++ Features

Example

C Program to Add Two Integers

#include <stdio.h>int main() { int num1, num2, sum; printf("Enter two numbers: "); scanf("%d %d", &num1, &num2); sum = num1 + num2; printf("Sum of %d and %d is %d\n", num1, num2, sum); return 0;}

C++ Program to Add Two Integers

#include <iostream>int main() { int num1, num2, sum; cout << "Enter two numbers: "; cin >> num1 >> num2; sum = num1 + num2; cout << "Sum of " << num1 << " and " << num2 << " is " << sum; return 0;}

Conclusion

The difference between C and C++ wraps up to one conclusion as a programmer, you decide to choose the language for your project.

After a glance at the features, drawbacks, and advantages of both C and C++, you could make out that both languages are suitable for different kinds of projects.
C is more suitable for low programming-level applications but also is one of the foundational languages for a beginner.

C++ as an extension of this language provides the additional OOP concepts that help to build complex applications faster, better, and more secure. Plus, the demand for this language proceeds to a bright scope for developers. Therefore, to make your unbiased decision on which one is between C and C++, you need a thorough reading of this article.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1: Is C++ better than C?

Ans: C++ is a superset of the language C, with enhanced features including OOP concepts. So, yes in creating some complex projects C++ is better than C.

Q.2: How are C and C++ different?

Ans: C is a structural or procedural programming language introduced earlier for system applications and low-level programs. Whereas C++ is an Object-oriented programming language with features similar to C and additional features like Encapsulation, Polymorphism, Data Abstraction, Data Hiding, Inheritance, etc., for complex application development. They are the same yet different in so many parameters.

Q.3: Is C easier than C++?

Ans. C is easier to learn because of its hands-on characteristics. But C++ is easier to code with its fixed structures and principles. Here is a free course on C++ to get started.

Q.4: Is C still used?

Ans: Yes, C is still used in many companies and by many developers today.

Q.5: What can C++ do that C Cannot?

Ans. The significant difference between C and C++ is an Object-oriented language that gives the advantages of data security, scalability, better performance, rich built-in functions and so much more.

Additional Resources

  • C Interview Questions
  • C++ Interview Questions
  • C++ MCQ
  • C++ Books
  • C++ IDEs
  • C++ Projects With Source Code
  • C# Vs C++
  • Top C IDE
  • C Projects
  • C Programming Books
  • Applications of C Programming Language
  • Difference Between C and Java
Difference Between C and C++ (2024)

FAQs

Should I learn C or C++ first? ›

If you want a strong foundation in systems programming, low-level memory management, and performance optimization, start with C. On the other hand, if you prefer a more versatile language with higher-level abstractions and broader industry applicability, C++ is the way to go.

Which is easier, C or C++? ›

The primary difference between the two languages is that C is a procedural language, while C++ is an object-oriented language. C is a simpler language and is easier to learn compared to C++. It is an excellent choice for beginners who want to learn the basics of programming.

What is the difference between C and C++ structures? ›

While C structures provide a basic mechanism for data organization, C++ structures enrich this concept with features like member functions, constructors, access specifiers, and inheritance. If you are a beginner, interested in coding, and want to learn DSA.

Is there a big difference between C and C++? ›

The main difference between C and C++ is that C is a procedural programming language that does not support classes and objects. On the other hand, C++ is an extension of C programming with object-oriented programming (OOP) support. Is C and C++ a compiled or interpreted language? C and C++ are both compiled languages.

Is C harder than Python? ›

Python is easier than C to learn. But C helps to learn the fundamentals of programming while Python focuses on doing the job. Because Python is made in C doesn't mean you need to learn it.

Is C++ too hard for beginners? ›

C++ is somewhat difficult to learn, especially if you have never programmed before or you have never used a low-level programming language before. If you are a beginner with no programming experience, you should expect it to take at least three months to learn the basics.

Is C++ better than Python? ›

C++ duel lacks a clear winner, as the better choice depends on individual preferences and project requirements. Python excels in quick learning and the rapid development of small programs. In contrast, C++ is suitable for large projects and exploring multiple languages, although it requires more time to master.

Is C or C++ more in demand? ›

Currently the demand is for object oriented language. Even C have lot of opportunities in fields like Systems Programming, Embedded Systems among others. But having C++ knowledge gives you a +1 when you apply for jobs. So, learning C++ will be a good choice.

Why do we need C++ over C? ›

C++ is quite similar to C, and it is so compatible with C that it can run 99 percent of C programs without changing any source code. However, because C++ is an object-oriented programming language, it is a safer and more well-structured programming language than C.

How is C different from C++ for operating system? ›

In conclusion, when comparing C vs C++, both are powerful programming languages widely used in the software development industry. C is a low-level language ideal for tasks requiring precise control over the hardware, while C++ is a high-level language that is easier to write and debug.

What is the difference between C and C++ and Java? ›

Java is an object-oriented programming language. As it connects the gaps between machine-level and high-level languages, C is a middle-level language. C++ is a high-level language. Due to the fact that Java code is converted into machine language via a compiler or interpreter, Java is a high-level language.

How is C different from C++ variable? ›

C only supports pointers and there is no concept of reference variables in C. C++ has both pointers and reference variables. There is no such thing as exception handling in C. C++ supports exception handling and you can use the try and catch block for handling the exceptions.

Is C C++ outdated? ›

C++ is not outdated. C++ continues to evolve to meet developer needs, with a new language standard about every three years (at the time of this writing).

How to tell if code is C or C++? ›

The file extension for a file that contains C code is . c , whereas the file extension for C++ files is . cpp .

Should I learn C++ after learning C? ›

Yes! C++ is nearly exactly a superset of Standard C95 (C90 and the 1995 Amendment 1). With very few exceptions, every valid C95 program is also a valid C++ program with the same meaning.

Can I directly start C++ without learning C? ›

Yes, you can learn C++ without C. While C++ is based on C, many of the concepts used in C++ development are different. C++ is object-oriented, so the development methodology may differ from most C applications.

Is C worth learning over C++? ›

Learning C++ is valuable for those interested in pursuing a career in this field. Embedded Systems: C is commonly used in embedded systems programming, where resources are constrained. If you're interested in working on devices like microcontrollers or IoT devices, knowledge of C is beneficial.

What should I learn first C or C++ or Python? ›

Python - if you want to get stuff done quickly and easily, 2.) C - if you want to learn programming from bottom up even if it takes longer until you produce something nice. C++ is a huge thing that has low level tools AND high level tools and a lot of different ways to write a single thing.

References

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