Python vs C | Difference between C and Python

In this tutorial, we will understand the basic difference between Python vs C programming languages.

Let’s start first understand the basic introduction of Python and C.

Introduction to C language:

C is a structured, mid-level, general-purpose procedural computer programming language developed at Bell Laboratories between 1972-73 by Dennis Ritchie.

It possesses the features of both low-level and high-level languages and this is the reason it is called middle level language.

Today, C language is one of the most popular computer programming language as it is a structured, high-level, and machine independent language.

It allows to develop the variety of programs in small modules without worrying about the hardware platforms. It provides the easy debugging, testing and maintenance of the programs.

Most of the commands of UNIX operating system are written in C language.


Introduction to Python language:

Python is a very popular high-level, general-purpose, object-oriented programming language. Guido Rossum developed it in 1989 at the national research institute for mathematics and computer science in Netherlands.

He released the first version of the Python code in Feb 1991. Python provides a simple program structure, a few keywords, and clearly defined syntax. Therefore, it is easy to read, write, and learn for beginners.

Today, it is the best choice of learning a programming language for beginners. Most of the major companies, such as Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Netflix, etc, are using Python for developing applications.

Now, let’s understand the basic differences between C and Python one by one.

Python vs C Difference


The Python language has several similarities to C, but there are also some definite differences between both languages. The differences between Python vs C are as follows:

1. Introduction:

  • C is a middle-level, general-purpose, procedural computer programming language.
  • Python is an interpreted, high-level, general-purpose, object-oriented programming language.

2. Designed by:

  • Dennis Ritchie designed C programming language at Bell Laboratories. He had published the first version in the year 1972.
  • Guido van Rossum designed Python programming language at the national research institute for mathematics and computer science in Netherlands. He had published the first version in the year 1991.

3. Latest version:

  • The latest version of C programming language is C17 published in June 2018.
  • The latest version of Python programming language is 3.10.0 published in Oct 2021.

4. Indentation:

  • In C programming language, line indentation is not compulsory.
  • In Python language, the indentation of code is a must.

5. Data type:

  • In the C programming language, it is mandatory to declare the data type of the variable when it is created, and only values of that type must be assigned to it.
  • In the Python, there is no need to declare data type of variable in the program. A declared variable can hold the values of different types at different times during the execution of program.

6. Pointers:

  • C language uses the concept of pointers.
  • Python does not use the concept of pointers, but uses the associative arrays and sequences.

7. Coding:

  • Writing the coding in C language is complex and lengthy.
  • Whereas, writing the coding in Python is easier and short.

8. Speed:

  • C language is faster as compared to Python because the compiler executes the program faster as compared to program executed by interpreter.

9. Syntax:

  • In C language, program syntax is harder than Python.
  • The syntax of Python code is easy to learn, write and read. It is easier to write the code in Python as the number of lines is less relatively.

10. Error debugging:

  • In C, error debugging is difficult because it is a compiler dependent language, meaning that it takes the complete source code, compiles it and then displays all the errors.
  • Error debugging is easy in Python because it is an interpreted language, meaning that it takes only one instruction at a time and interprets and executes. If the interpreter encounters error, then it shows instantly and stops the execution at that instruction.

11. Function renaming mechanism

  • C language does not support the function renaming mechanism, meaning that we cannot use the same function by two different names.
  • Python supports the function renaming mechanism, i.e., we can use the same function by two different names.

12. Automatic increment:

  • In C, the variable defined in a for loop does not increment automatically.
  • While the variable defined in the for loop increments automatically for the next iteration in Python.

13. Implementation of stack and queue:

  • Implementing stack and queue is complex using C language.
  • Whereas, the implantation of stack and queue is easier in Python.

14. In-line assignment:

  • C language supports in-line assignment.
  • Whereas, Python does not support the in-line assignment.

15. Exception handling:

  • C does not support exception handling.
  • Python support exception handling.

16. Input/Output failure:

  • In case of input/output failure, C does not produce an error message on the console.
  • Whereas Python support input/output failure by the system calls.

17. Built-in functions

  • C language has a few built-in functions.
  • Python has an extensive library of built-in functions.

18. Semicolon (;):

  • In C language, we use a semicolon as a statement terminator.
  • However, we use a semicolon as an expression separator in Python.

19. Memory management:

  • As C supports memory management manually through free() and malloc() functions, programmer has to do memory management on their own.
  • Python handles automatic memory management through an automatic garbage collector.

20. Applications:

  • C language is mainly used for hardware related applications, such as Windows, UNIX and Linux, whereas Python is a general-purpose programming language, mainly used for machine learning, natural language processing, web development, game development, etc.

21. Garbage collection:

  • C does not support the garbage collection, whereas Python support it.

22. Precision complex number:

  • C supports both single precision and double precision complex number.
  • On the other hand, Python supports only double precision complex numbers.

23. Arrays:

  • C language supports single and multi-dimensional arrays. Whereas, Python supports only a one dimensional dynamic size array.

24. Associative arrays:

  • C does not support associative arrays, whereas Python uses associative arrays as dictionaries marked with curly braces.

25. String concatenation:

  • In C language, we use strcat() function for string concatenation.
  • On the other hand, we use the plus (+) operator for concatenating the strings in Python.

In this tutorial, we have discussed the top 25 key difference between C and Python. Hope that you will have understood the basic points of C vs Python language.

Here, an important question is when to use Python and when to use C. There are many similarities between both C and Python.

Both programming languages are used extensively to develop applications. But still there is a vital difference between Python and C. Python is a multi-paradigm language, whereas C is a structured programming language.

Python is a general-purpose server side scripting language. It is used for data science, machine learning, natural language processing, web development, game development, and many more.

C is mainly used to develop system-related applications, such as operating system (Windows, UNIX and Linux), network drivers.

In the present competitive marketplace, it is not sufficient to learn only one programming language. To be a versatile and competent programmer, you need to learn more than one programming language.

Thanks for reading!!!
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