C++ vs Java: 22 Vital Difference Between C++ and Java

Introduction to C++ language

C is a general-purpose programming language developed by Bjarne Stroustrup at AT & T Bell Laboratories in 1979.

It is built on C language with object-oriented extension. That is C++ is a superset of C with additional features. It added the concept of Class and Objects.

C++ language encapsulates both high and low-level language features. Hence, it is perceived as an intermediate-level language.

C++ is platform-dependent and is mainly used for system programming. It supports many features like virtual functions, templates, goto statement, multiple inheritance, operator overloading, pointers, structures, unions, etc.

It uses the only compiler to compile and run c++ program.

Introduction to Java language

Java is a high-level, object-oriented, interpreted, and general-purpose programming language developed by Sun Microsystems of USA in 1991.

Java was originally named OAK and is developed by James Gosling in 1995. It is mainly designed for the development of application programming or software for electronic devices and electronic machines.

The most striking feature of Java language is that it is a platform-independent language. Java does not support the features of C++ like goto statement, pointers, operator overloading, etc. Java platform uses both compiler and interpreter.

Hope that you will have understood the basic introduction of Java and C++. Now, we will understand the key similarities and differences between Java and C++.

Similarities between C++ vs Java


There are many similarities between Java and C++ that are as follows:

a) Both C++ and Java are Object-Oriented Programming languages. Object-oriented programming language is that language that supports features like encapsulation, inheritance, abstraction, and polymorphism.

b) Both are case-sensitive.

c) Both have similar syntax.

d) Many keywords are the same in Java and C++ such as while, for, if-else, switch, break, case, try-catch, throw, continue, public, private, etc.

e) Both C++ and Java support method overloading.

f) Both have the same arithmetic and relational operators.

  • Arithmetic operators such as +, -, *, /
  • Relational operators such as >, <, =, != (not equal to)

g) Execution of both C++ and Java programs begins from the “main” entry point.

An entry point is a starting point where the program starts for execution. However, the declaration of function is not same, but the name is the same.


h) Primitive data types like int, float, char, double are similar in both Java and C++. But one difference is that Boolean data type is called boolean in Java but it is called bool in C++.

i) Both support multi-threading to achieve multitasking.

Key Difference between C++ and Java


C++ and Java are syntactically similar. Apart from this similarity, there are also many differences between C++ and Java programming languages.

A list of high-level key difference between C++ and Java are as follows:

C++ vs Java: 22 vital difference between C and Java

1. Platform-independent:

  • C++ is platform-dependent.
  • Java is platform-independent. It is the first programming language that is not dependent on any particular hardware or operating system. We can execute developed Java programs anywhere on any system. Java brought revolutionary in technology industries.

2. Uses:

  • C++ language is mainly used for system and application programming.
  • Java is mainly used for application programmings such as Windows, Web-based, Enterprise, and Mobile applications.

3. Compiler and Interpreter:

  • C++ only supports compiler. Therefore, it is known as compiled language. C++ program is compiled and run using only compiler. C++ compiler converts source code into machine code that makes C++ platform dependent.
  • Java supports both compiler and interpreter. First, Java source code is converted into bytecode by Java compiler at compilation time. Bytecodes are not machine instructions. At runtime, the interpreter executes this bytecode and produces output. So, we can say that Java is both compiled and interpreted language that makes it platform-independent.

4. Hardware:

  • C++ is nearer to particular hardware or operating system.
  • Java is not so tied with any particular hardware or operating system.

5. Memory Management:

  • Memory management in C++ is accessible to programmers.
  • In Java, memory management is not accessible to programmers. It is system-controlled.

6. Goto statement:

  • C++ supports the goto statement. However, it is not recommended to use a goto statement.
  • Java does not support the goto statement.


7. Multiple inheritance:

  • C++ supports multiple inheritance. The keyword virtual is used to fix problems during multiple inheritance.
  • Java doesn’t support multiple inheritance through classes. It can be implemented in Java by using a new feature “interface”.

8. Operator Overloading:

  • C++ supports the concept of operator overloading.
  • There is no concept of operator overloading in Java.

9. Pointers:

  • C++ supports the feature of pointers. We can write pointer programs in C++.
  • Java supports pointer internally with limitations. Although, we can’t write the pointer program in java.

10. Call by Value and Call by reference:

  • C++ supports both call by value and call by reference.
  • Java supports call by value only, not call by reference.

11. Structure and Union:

  • C++ supports the concepts of structures and unions.
  • There are no concepts of structures and unions in Java.

12. Garbage collection:

  • Java supports garbage collection.
  • But there is no garbage collection in C++.

13. Thread Support:

  • C++ has no built-in support for threads. It mainly depends on third-party libraries for thread support.
  • Java has built-in thread support by a class “thread”. To implement it, we will need to inherit the thread class and then override the run method.

14. Global variables:

  • C++ has the support of global variables.
  • Global variables are not supported by Java.

15. Template classes:

  • Java does not have template classes as in C++.

16. Documentation comment:

  • C++ does not support documentation comments.
  • Java supports documentation comment (/** … */) to write documentation for java source code.

17. Virtual Keyword:

  • C++ supports virtual keyword with a function so that we can determine whether or not override a function in the derived class.
    This way we can implement polymorphism.
  • Java does not support virtual keyword. We can override all instance methods by default. In other words, instance methods are virtual by default.

18. unsigned right shift >>>:

  • C++ doesn’t support unsigned right shift >>> operator.
  • Java supports unsigned right shift >>> operator that places zero at the top for the negative numbers. For positive numbers, it serves same like >> operator.

19. Inheritance Tree:

  • C++ always creates a new inheritance tree.
  • Java always uses a single inheritance tree because all classes are derived from Object class in java.

20. Root hierarchy:

  • There is no root hierarchy in C++. C++ supports both procedural and object-oriented programming languages. Therefore, it is said to be hybrid language.
  • Java is a pure object-oriented programming language. That’s why it always follows single root hierarchy.

21. Scope resolution operator:

  • In C++ language, we can use scope resolution operator (::) to define a function outside of a class. We can also access a global variable inside its scope where a local variable also exists with the same name.
  • There is no scope resolution operator (::) in Java.

22. Runtime error detection:

  • The programmer has the responsibility to check the runtime errors in C++.
  • In Java, it is the system’s responsibility to check errors in the program.

Main Key Difference between C++ vs Java :

a) C++ uses compiler only whereas Java uses both compiler and interpreter.

b) C++ supports both operator overloading and method overloading whereas Java only supports method overloading, not operator overloading.

c) C++ has manual object management with the help of new and delete keywords while Java has automatic built-in garbage collection.

d) C++ supports structures and unions whereas Java doesn’t support structures and unions.

e) C++ supports pointers while Java doesn’t support pointers.

FAQ in Google Search concerning C++ vs Java

Q1) Which one is better C++ or Java?

Ans: Perhaps, it is difficult to say which is better. Both C++ and Java have their own features, merits, and demerits.

C++ is a highly evolved language and is mostly good for system programming with advanced features like templates and containers. In fact, C++ can do anything in systems development from enterprise to gaming. We cannot do it with Java.

Java is the most widely used to develop desktop applications, gaming, web servers, and client-side web applications. It is also known as a native language of the Android operating system that operates on Android phones and tablets.

It’s also easier to find a Java developer than a “harder” language such as C++. Thus, the choice between C++ vs Java totally depends on which kind of application we are developing.

So, before going to choose between better: C++ and Java, First, evaluate beforehand the pros and cons of both the languages and then decide which is the best programming language to develop your application should be.


Q2) Is C++ harder than Java?

Ans: If you learned the basics of C language then C++ will not be difficult for you because it is just an extension of C with some advanced features.

But Java is easier to perceive without knowing C++. Frankly speaking, learning of any programming language depends on your practice.


Q3) Can we learn Java without knowing C or C++?

Answer: Yes, surely! No need to learn C or C++ to learn Java. In fact, the syntax of Java is easier than C++ or C.


Q4) Is C++ similar to Java?

Answer: In some ways, Yes but in some ways, No because both C++ and Java are object-oriented programming languages. They can be used for application development. They have similar syntax.

But when we move on to other topics like memory management, inheritance, polymorphism, etc., C++ and Java are totally different. Similarly, when we come to primitive data types, object handling, pointers, etc. both languages are different.


Hope that this tutorial has covered almost all the important points concerning the difference between C++ and Java. I hope that you will have understood which is better: C++ vs Java for your project.
Thanks for reading!!!
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