Difference Between Java and C++

The syntax of Java is similar to C++ but there are many differences between C++ and Java.
The major difference between Java and C++ is that C++ is only a compiled language while Java is both compiled as well as interpreted. A C++ compiler converts the source code directly into platform specific machine code therefore it is platform dependent. Whereas, a Java compiler converts Java source code into bytecode and following that, the Java interpreter executes this bytecode at runtime. Java is platform independent because it is interpreted.

Here are the major differences between C++ and Java.

Difference Between Java and C++

Java C++
Java, developed by James Gosling and his team at Sun Microsystems in the early 1990s, is an object-oriented, high-level, and platform-independent programming language. It was designed with the principle of "Write Once, Run Anywhere" (WORA), meaning that Java code can be written on one platform and executed on any other platform with a compatible Java Virtual Machine (JVM). C++, created by Bjarne Stroustrup in the early 1980s, is an extension of the C programming language with added features such as object-oriented programming (OOP). C++ provides low-level memory manipulation capabilities along with high-level abstractions, making it suitable for systems programming, game development, and other performance-critical applications.
Java is purely Object-oriented programming language, since it is not possible to write a Java program without using at least one class. C++ is not a purely object-oriented programming language. It is object oriented extension of C. It is possible to write C++ program without using a class or an object.
Java does not support pointers. C++ support pointers.
Java doesn’t support Global variables. Global variables can be declared in C++.
Java support automatic garbage collection. However java does provide finalize method. C++ support destructor functions, which gets called automatically whenever an object is destroyed.
Java doesn't support multiple inheritance but there are other means to achieve it. C++ support multiple inheritance.
Java does not support conditional inclusion and compilation. C++ supports conditional inclusion and compilation using #ifdef, #ifndef etc.
Java does not support operator overloading, structures, union and templates. C++ supports operator overloading, structures, union and templates.
Java does not support goto jump statement. C++ supports goto jump statement. Although, using goto is considered as bad programming practice.
Java is platform independent. Because java is interpreted, same java program can run in multiple platform having JVM. C++ is platform dependent. Same C++ code may not run on different platforms.
Java doesn't support default argument to a function. C++ supports default argument to a function.
Java provides inbuilt support for documentation comments. Java provides a tool called javadoc, which reads all documentation comments from source code and convert it to HTML format. C++ does not provide inbuilt support for documentation comments.
Java provides inbuilt support for multi threading. C++ does not have inbuilt support for multi threading.
In Java, function arguments are always passed using call by value. There is support for call by reference. C++ supports both call by value and call by reference.
Java is widely adopted in enterprise environments for building large-scale, distributed systems. It is also a popular choice for web development, especially on the server side. C++ is often preferred for systems programming, embedded systems, and performance-critical applications like game development. It is a dominant language in industries where low-level hardware interaction is essential.
Java comes with a comprehensive Standard Edition (SE) library that provides a wide range of classes and utilities for common programming tasks. Java's ecosystem is also rich in frameworks and tools. C++ includes the Standard Template Library (STL), a powerful set of template classes and functions. While C++ does not have as extensive a standard library as Java, its ecosystem includes various libraries and frameworks for different purposes.

Which language a beginner programmer should learn first? Java or C++ ?

For beginner programmers, it would be better to learn C++ first as the syntax of C++ is easier compared to Java and there is extensive inbuilt support for standard data structures in C++ like queue, stack etc. However, for experienced programmers, Java is a great programming language to know about as it is widely used in multiple large tech companies and therefore it would help the programmers a lot in cracking tech interviews.

Choosing the Right Language for the Job

Choose Java If
  • You prioritize platform independence and want the flexibility to run your code on various devices without modification.

  • You are working on enterprise-level applications, web development, or mobile app development.

  • Automatic memory management is preferred over manual memory manipulation.
Choose C++ If
  • Performance is a critical factor, and you need natively compiled code for resource-intensive applications.

  • You are working on system-level programming, game development, or projects that require fine-grained control over memory.

  • You prefer a language that allows multiple programming paradigms, including procedural and object-oriented.
Ultimately, both Java and C++ have played significant roles in the evolution of programming languages, and each has its place in the diverse landscape of software development. As you gain experience in both languages, you'll be better equipped to make informed decisions based on the specific requirements of your projects.