Comparing C & C++ programming languages

Comparing C & C++ programming languages
Comparing C & C++ programming languages

Did you know C language is the initial programming language that gave birth to C++, Java, Python and many other programming languages?

Welcoming you all to read about one of the oldest programming languages C and C++. To begin with, both languages have their boon and bane points. But before that, we need to look at what ‘C’ and ‘C++’ are before going through their differences.

The what and why of C and C++ language

Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson developed the C programming language. C language is the main point for any programming language to be built. It specifically has some pros which can never be replicated by the newly developed programming language. Low-key memory access, keywords are limited, and every code created will be properly created.

While using the C program, you need to declare the header files, declare the main method, variables, create class, objects, define the return statement and end your program. Every program is assigned this way, so it always looks well-ordered.

Bjarne Stroustrup is the developer of the programming language, C++. You cannot call it a beginner programming language, rather it is an intermediate programming language. Beginning with the drawbacks, it is not a secure language as it includes global variable and friend functions. It cannot support garbage values too. To balance this, there are many pros in C++.

You will understand Object-Oriented Programming language while working with C++, you will stand a chance to use different classes, data types, etc. Differences among compilers, loaders, and linkers are all included. The syntax and structure of programming will be the same as C language but in a little complicated format.

Without wasting any more time, we will straight away jump into the comparison between C and C++.

Different DataTypes available

Data types are the type of data that is assigned to every variable. C language supports inbuilt data types. User-defined data types are supported by the C++ language. Primitive data types are also supported by C language, but inbuilt data types are not available separately in C language.

Data types in C include int, float, double, void and char whereas Data types in it includes int, float, double, void, char, bool and it has a set of modifiers namely signed, unsigned, short and long.

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How is the Structure of the languages?

The structure is the sequence of the language that is created. The orientation of the structure is different for C and C++. C Programming has a defined structure that follows a top to a down structure.

The design of high definition is at the top carried out until the design of low definition. Top to bottom structure explains the main() function is executed first and main() function calls the sub-functions.

The programming language follows bottom to the top structure which is the exact opposite to C program. The code is generated for the input given and the inputs are integrated with the main() function. The structure-orientation for both C and C++ is for the development of the software. Program execution does not fall under this constraint.

Header files

Header files cannot hold definitions that might create multiple definitions of the same name. Header files are included by various files and it has an include shield that holds the libraries. C language uses #include<stdio.h> as the default header file in the program where stdio.h is expanded as standard input-output.

#include<iostream.h> is the default header file for C++ language. Here, Input Output Stream is abbreviated as iostream.h

Which is easy to use?

When you are programming with C language, you need to tell it everything you want to do with it. It does not understand on its own. C language is mentioned as the primary Programming language. Comparing C, it is highly integrated. Object-oriented programming codes are inbuilt in it.

Comparing C language to C++, the usage of the C++ language is much easier. If you can work with C in proficiency, C++ is a piece of cake!


Inheritance is the process of inheriting the subclass from a base class. The base class is termed as parent class and all the subclasses are inherited from the parent class. Subclass or child class is inherited from a parent class.

Inheritance is one of the properties of Object-oriented programming language abbreviated as OOPS. It has OOPS features in-built in it. C program does not have Object-orientation, so inheritance does not apply to C language.

Method of programming

C++ is likely to be a blend of programming styles. Both object-oriented programming paradigms and procedural programming paradigms are included in the C++ language which is a major advantage. It also mainly concentrates on the object and class creation.

To solve an individual problem, C language concentrates more on this and it is totally on the procedural programming paradigm. Object orientated programming language is included only in C++ and C program does not have objects, classes in its program. Compared to C, C++ has a higher abstraction level.

How the data is held in Variables

You need to declare all the variables in prior. Assigning values to the variables may or may not be done inside the body of the program. At the beginning of the program body, the list of variables is to be declared. The usage of undeclared variables will prompt you to an error.

C language is a hands-on language, declaring variables before using them as input is a must. C++ language works the same for variable declaration. Variables are classified as local variables and global variables in C language. C++ includes local, instance, static variables, and reference variables.

Existing variables are known as reference variables. If a reference variable is initialised, a variable name can be used to refer to a variable. C language does not support reference variables.

Abstraction and Encapsulation

Abstraction is a property of Object-oriented programming language. It is a process of getting the information and not providing the details. The needed information is presented to the user-side and the background details are hidden.

C++ provides greater data abstraction since it is implemented with Object-orientation and C language does not have it. Encapsulation is the process of hiding the data from the users of the object. Data members store the details about an object. Member functions are made public and all the member variables are made private. Private member variables cannot be accessed outside the class, but the data members can access the public member functions. You will find this confusing, only until you learn the process of encapsulation! 

Both abstraction and encapsulation are not available in C language because both are properties of Object-oriented programming language (OOPS).


Before Namespace was made an important feature in a program, C language was standardised. Namespaces work only in C++ when you are planning to arrange the codes logically referred to by names.

Using multiple libraries may create confusion over names, you can use namespace here. A namespace is declared before the main() function and it provides you with a scope to the variables, functions collectively called as identifiers. A named scope can contain a declaration of multiple namespace blocks. It does not fall under public or private conditions. The declared namespace can be nested within another declared namespace.

The syntax for namespace :
namespace name_of_namespace
//body of the program
// name_of_namespace’s scope

Dynamic Memory allocation

Memory allocation is done using standard library functions. In C language, the dynamic memory functions include malloc() and free(). The malloc() takes the memory area needed with a single parameter. malloc() function has two variants : calloc() and realloc().

The pointer is returned to the allocated memory and it returns NULL when allocation fails.

In C++, dynamic memory is more or less the same as C language. It has two extra operators namely new and deletes. These operators aid the code to perform concisely and precisely. Using the standard template library is another option for dynamic memory management.

It is not necessary to assign NULL after deallocation, but it is a good practice of writing your code. The time required to allocate the memory may not be predictable and the memory pool may shatter which results in an error. If you are working for desktop applications, dynamic memory management may not be an issue but if it is real-time applications, it cannot be ignored.


Now you know all the major differences between C and C++. Both languages are good in their form. Choosing C over C++ is when your application platform does not support the C++ compiler and the application is completely stable. Developing low-level programming projects and working directly on the computer hardware, C++ is preferable.

Again, deciding on C or C++ is based on your needs. Hopefully, we have covered some important pros and cons of both the languages. The selection is based on your preference.