The programming languages C and C++ support the majority of products, applications, and websites around the world.
Each helped lay the groundwork for the development of many popular programming languages such as Java. It also supports many languages that you may use regularly in your programming projects. B. Python.
This article provides a general, beginner’s overview of the two languages, along with their key similarities and differences.
C and C++’s ancestors
The C programming language’s past
Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie have been working on the MULTICS (Multiplexed Information and Computing Service) project at AT&T Bell Laboratories for several years.
After the project stalled, Ken Thompson began work on a space travel game on his 1969 little-used PDP-7 machine.
In the process, he ended up writing his Unix, an almost complete operating system, from scratch in assembly language.
While working on MULTICS, both Thompson and Ritchie used high-level languages to write system software and program utilities. And they understood how easy the whole process was compared to the cryptic, hard-to-break assembly language. Ritchie joined Thompson to help port Unix to the new machine, the PDP-11.
During this time, they experimented with various high-level languages that helped them get the job done.
They used his BCPL (Basic Combined Programming Language) which was heavily used during the MULTICS era. After trying it out, Thompson eventually wrote a new language, the B programming language.
The B language was similar to his BCPL, but a simpler, stripped-down version. But B wasn’t powerful enough to take full advantage of the PDP-11’s new features and performance.
Dennis Ritchie started improving the B language and eventually developed the C programming language.
C is a portable language. This means that programs written in C can be transferred and used on a variety of machine architectures. It’s very fast, easy to compile, and maps directly to machine code, giving programmers access to low-level functionality.
Finally, in 1972, he rewrote the Unix operating system in C.
Developers adopted C and began using it widely because it was portable and the language Unix was implemented in. This led to the success of the Unix operating system and the popularization of the C language.
Dennis Ritchie and Brian Kernighan co-authored the book The C Programming Language in 1977, which set the standard for how to use the language. This book made the language even more popular.
C has been very important in the history of computer science, and its development has led to the development of many other programming languages. For this reason, it is often called the “mother” of all programming languages.
History of C++
In 1979, his researcher Bjarne Stroustrup was recruited by his AT&T Bell Laboratories.
In the 1970s, as computers became more complex and powerful, the limitations of the C programming language began to become apparent.
In the early 1980s, Bjarne Stroustrup created a new language following his two influences.
A different language, Simula’s object-oriented programming capabilities offered a different programming approach than C. You can abstract and organize your code and use classes to represent everything.
The systems programming language C provided a way to get very close to the machine hardware and perform sophisticated low-level computational tasks. Combining these two ideas allows for a higher level of abstraction without losing C’s low efficiency. The “C with classes” language was developed in this manner.
C++ was given the term “C with classes” in 1984.
C++ is therefore a superset of C. That is, it is an extension of C and is based on it. C++ just provides additional functionality to the C language.
Syntax and code structure
The overall syntax of the two languages is very similar. The operators and keywords used in C are also used in C++ to accomplish the same things. However, C++ has more keywords and extension syntax than C.
Inline comments // and block comments */ */ look the same.
Also, each statement ends with a semicolon; Conditions, loops, variable initialization, and declarations are all similar in the two languages.
Both C and C++ have a main() method that starts each program and # includes header files at the top of each file.
Languages for compiling programs
C and C++ have compiled programming languages.
A compiler is a computer software program.
It translates source code written by programmers in a high-level programming language into another language that computers understand.
This format is the first assembler code, translated into machine code, the native language of all computers.
Machine language is a set of instructions that a computer’s CPU (Central Processing Unit) can directly understand. Once the source code is converted to machine code, a binary executable a.out is built.
Differences between C and C++
Now let’s look at some differences between the two languages.
In C and C++, there are various ways to print information to the console and get information from the user.
In C, scanf() is used for user input and printf() is used for data output.
In C++, use std::cin >> to get user input and get std::cout << Used for data output.
The approach to programming
The two languages’ various approaches to programming are what distinguishes them most from one another.
C is a procedure-oriented language and its focus is on functions.
A program is divided into a series of functions, consisting of step-by-step instructions or commands that are executed in sequence.
This programming style specifies how to do something and provides structured instructions for performing computational tasks in a top-down approach.
This style of programming becomes very cumbersome and error-prone as the program grows. This results in a lot of copying and pasting throughout the file and updating a lot of functionality when there are changes.
C++ is not only a procedural language, it is also an object-oriented programming language based on the concept of dividing a program into objects.
Everything is organized in a bottom-up approach, broken down into small groups of related parts or objects that represent instances of classes.
Object-oriented programming is based on four principles: encapsulation, abstraction, inheritance, and polymorphism.
This programming style creates code that is easier to read and use and easier to maintain while providing better data security.
C++ provides the STL (Standard Template Library), but C does not.
Provides template classes for commonly used data structures and components to implement additional built-in functionality.
One such component is a vector-like container that holds a collection of objects.
Namespaces are a feature available in C++ rather than C.
These are containers used to organize code into logical groupings of identifier-like objects under names in scope.
These prevent name clashes when multiple libraries exist and prevent name clashes from other namespaces in your program.
An example namespace is std::.
One way to use namespaces and inject them into scope is by using keywords. B. Use the namespace std;
C doesn’t provide a way to handle exceptions in your program that helps you avoid errors.
C++, on the other hand, supports exception handling with the introduction of try-and-catch blocks.
Files containing C code have the file extension .c and C++ files have the file extension .cpp.
Where are C and C++ used?
C is often used for highly demanding low-level computing tasks where speed, efficiency, and close access to the machine are essential.
C assumes you know what you’re doing and gives you freedom.
As such, it is the language of choice for the growing industry of operating systems, embedded devices, system programming, kernel and drivers, compiler development, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
C++, on the other hand, provides efficiency and high performance for large systems while allowing programmers to work closer to the machine. At the same time, it is at a higher level abstracted well from the machine.
C++ is a popular language for building game engines, computer graphics, applications, VR applications, web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and web browser extensions. Additionally created in C++ is the Google search engine.