C# vs C++

C# vs C++

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C# and C++ are two of the top programming languages of 2019. Both are easy to learn and based on object-oriented programming concepts. Before we dig into the differences, let us explore some features of each and how they are contributing to the programming world.

C#

Do you pronounce C# as C-hash every time you see it? Well, I do – but it’s more appropriate to call it C-sharp because the language has some really sharp features. Developed by Microsoft for the .NET framework, C# is a high-level component-oriented programming language.

Why C…. C++ and then C#?

The backbone of C# is C with a lot of improvements like automatic memory management, bound checking and many more.

What is a component-oriented language?

C# is also based on OOPS, but it follows a component approach because it was originally designed for use in .NET framework. With component-oriented programming, you do not have to bother about the internal workings of the code and can use the code as such because each block or module can work individually i.e. each module is a stand-alone component.

Learning C# needs more experience than C++. If you already know C, then you can choose any of the two, but as a non-programmer, it will be better to learn C or C++ before learning C#. And yes, C# is a lot similar to Java!

Features of C# –

A simple yet powerful language, C# comes with a lot of features –

  • Automatic memory management (garbage collection).
  • Supports all the object-oriented programming concepts – encapsulation, polymorphism, inheritance.
  • Robust due to good error handling features and type safety
  • Maximizes code reuse because of language interoperability, making it efficient
  • Structured programming language where a complex program can be split into smaller, reusable and easy to understand methods.
  • Versioning allows easy deployment and management of applications
  • High-performance due to fast execution

.NET Common Language Runtime (.NET CLR)

Programs written in C# are converted into native code using CLR. In fact, CLR is the common runtime (as the name says) for all the .NET languages and that is where the interoperability comes from!

You can build web applications, games, web services, windows apps and forms using C# with ease.

Here is a simple code that takes name as an input from a user and then prints it with a message –

using System;
namespace PrintNameApplication {
   class PrintUserName {
      static void Main(string[] args) {
         /* Write user name to console */
   String userName;
userName = Console.ReadLine();
         Console.WriteLine("Hello, " + userName + ". How are you today?");
      }
   }
}

Here Console.ReadLine() gets the value from the user, stores it in a variable named username and prints the same using the Console.WriteLine method.

Check out some common C# interview questions here.

C++

C++ is an object-oriented language, which gave a major advantage over C because C was a procedural language, whereas, C++, just like C# is object-oriented. With OOP approach, data is the most important element and is tied more closely to the methods and functions operating on it, thus protecting it (data) from any unwanted or accidental changes.

Essentially, C++ is ‘C with classes’ and if you know C, you can learn C++ easily. Some features of C++ include –

  • A bottom-up approach focusing more on data than procedures
  • Case sensitive language – for example, break and BREAK are different
  • Platform independent
  • Simple and fast high-level programming language
  • Compiler-based language (not interpreter based)

C++ got its popularity as a huge improvement over C. For example, C++ introduced the concepts of OOPS, inline functions, method, and operator overloading.

Let us write our Print Username program in C++.

#include <iostream>
using namespace std;
int main() {
char username[30];
cout << "Enter user name-";
cin >> username;
cout << "Hello, " << username << ". How are you today?";
return 0;
}

Note that while we had defined username as String in C#, in C++ we declare it as a char array.

In this program, we have not created a class, but to get the OOPS essence, we should have a class definition in a program. In real-life applications, this is how we will be creating C++ programs –

#include <iostream>
class testclass
{
//member variables
int roll;
char name[30];
};
void testclass :: printname(void)
{
cout << “Enter your name: ”’
cin >> name;
cout << “\nGood morning, ” << name;
}
main(){
 testclass tc;
 tc.printname();
}

Thus, the general structure of a C++ program is something like:

  • include statements
  • class declaration
  • class functions and their definitions
  • main program

We have a comprehensive list of some of the best C++ tutorials. Check them out here.

So, which one do you think is better?

Well, that’s a tricky one to answer. C++ is more prominent and considered one of the foundation languages for many new programming languages, so a lot of legacy code is still in C++. However, C# provides a higher level of abstraction and offers automatic garbage collection. While C++ is faster, it doesn’t warn you of compilation errors, which makes it more prone to errors whereas C# is stricter and much more protected – it tells you most of the errors beforehand so you don’t get surprises when you run your program. When performance is not an issue and you want to build a web application, go for C#. If your application is for server-side software and needs to perform fast operations – C++ will be your ideal choice.

C# vs C++: Head to Head Comparison

Now that you understand the basics of both, let us do a head to head comparison –

Sr.No.C++C#
1Supports OOPS conceptsSupports OOP and component-based architecture (multi-paradigm language)
2A low-level programming language with some high-level language features thus called as an intermediate-level languageA high-level programming language with no complex features, thus easy to understand.
3Low level of abstractionHigh-level abstraction
4Memory management is manually done like in CMemory management is automatic like in Java
5Performance is exceptionally highGood performance, but less than C++
6Platform independent and can write programs for any OS (platform)Platform-independent but mainly targeted for Windows and .NET framework
7Flexible, you can code anything, the compiler doesn’t generate warnings unless syntax is incorrectMore level of control, the compiler generates warnings and error beforehand so that application runtime errors are reduced
8Compiled using the light-weight compilerInterpreted using CLR into bytecodes thus includes all the libraries prior to compilation.
9Good for high-performance applications like gaming, device drivers and server-side applicationsGreat for web applications for desktop, mobiles, and tablets
10Data types in C++ are similar to that of C.

Built-in – int, char, float, double, etc…

Derived – array, function, pointer

User-defined – enum, struct, union

Apart from the primitive data types like int, char, float, double, etc.., C# supports reference data types like String, arrays, classes, and interfaces, and pointer data type. It also supports enumerations and structures. C# also supports Collections.
11C++ implements generics using templates which is slightly complexC# generics are flexible, however, limited in functionality as compared to that in C++. For more information on Generics, visit the Microsoft support page.
12Supports multiple inheritanceDoesn’t support multiple inheritances through class, but the same effect can be achieved through interfaces, thus simplifying architectural requirements.

Conclusion

C# is a simple, general-purpose language that has been standardized but we mostly see it with .NET framework on Windows, while C++ is used widely. C# was mainly developed as a Microsoft alternative for the robust Java. While C++ has to follow a proper architecture and the code has certain binding, C# code is developed as components so it can work as a set of stand-alone modules independent of each other. C++ comes with a lot of features that are extremely suitable for complex programming and gaming systems, whereas C# has limited and simple features that are mostly enough for a simple web application.

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