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Difference Between Procedural and Object Oriented Programming

Kushleen Waraich
Last Updated: Mar 21, 2023
difference between procedural and object oriented programming


There are several approaches for developing code in programming languages. But the two most popular and important ones are object-oriented programming and procedural programming.

Both programming styles are meant to be understood properly as they have become quite popular in recent years and are important in every aspect. Whether you want to master coding, ace your interview, or want to understand any language deeply, it’s necessary to be clear with all the concepts of object-oriented programming and procedural programming language. In this article we are going to see every aspect of object oriented and procedural oriented programming language so that you can choose an appropriate code style depending upon the application you are going to create.

In this article we will be focusing on:-

  • What is object-oriented programming?
  • What is procedural programming?
  • What is the difference between procedural and object-oriented programming languages?
  • Which type of language is preferred?

Also see, Must Do Coding Questions

Let’s get to know Object-Oriented Programming

Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) is a programming paradigm based on the concepts of “objects” which can contain data (also known as attributes or properties) in the form of fields, and code that is in the form of procedures (also known as methods or functions).

OOP languages are diverse, the most popular OOP languages are class-based, that means objects are nothing but instances of classes. Object-oriented programming organises programs as “objects”.

There are many popular programming languages that are multi-paradigm and support object-oriented programming like C++, Java, Python, etc in combination with procedural or imperative programming. Some of the object-oriented languages are C++, C#, Python, Java, JavaScript, Swift, Kotlin, Perl, Ruby, Smalltalk etc.

OOPSLA is the annual conference for object-oriented programming systems, languages and applications.

Building Blocks of OOP, Objects: Objects are instances of a class and the basic unit of object-oriented programming as the name suggests. Objects may represent a person, a table of data, or any data to be handled.

Let’s know the blueprint: Class is a blueprint for an object. Objects take the properties of the class; it contains operations to be performed on objects.

Taking an example:

Assume that you have to design an attendance management system for students. The classes that you can create are students and professors. As objects are the instances of a class, we can have Rahul, Karan and Namita as the objects of the student’s class. The students individually are the objects that inherit features or attributes from the class defined. Similarly, for the professor class, you can have objects such as Suresh sir, Ramesh sir and so on.

Object-oriented programming is based on mainly four basic concepts. Let’s unfold them one by one here :-

  • Abstraction
  • Encapsulation
  • Inheritance
  • Polymorphism

1. Abstraction: It is the key concept in the domain of object-oriented programming. It enables the programmer to abstract or we can say , it hides details from the users. In today’s world of technology privacy  i.e. hiding the information is everyone’s demand. There are many advantages of abstraction, such as:

It makes the complex logic hide behind and makes the system easy to use for a user. For example, Have you ever thought about how the ATM machines verify our password? How does it have useful information such as account number, balance and statements? And how does the machine accurately give out the entered amount? All these functions are achieved by various system configurations, mechanisms and algorithms. But the user is not required to know all of it to get the money out of the ATM machine

It allows the particular code to be efficiently reused while avoiding complexity: For example, there are tons of APIs that developers regularly use to integrate into their systems. Taking the common Google, Facebook and email authentication system. You can find them on every website. Not all of them, program the google authentication themselves. It is owned by Google. Google has given the provision of using the authentication API that enables other developers to use it in their system without explicitly coding it from scratch. This has increased the reusability of the same code and without any complex implementation.

It ensures the security of the system: Assume facebook gives your password on your profile page along with all your details. This is the dish on the platter for hackers. Your account would be hacked in no time. Abstraction is the key here. Your password and usernames are hidden by the system to ensure the security of your system.

2. Encapsulation: It is a process of binding data members and member functions into a single unit, where data members are variables or properties and member functions are methods. In simple language, encapsulation can be understood by the example of a factory. Assume a juice factory, It has various segments for different kind of juices such as apple juice, orange juice and grapes juice.

Each segment has a juicer(function) and a storage unit of fruits(data). Now think if you place oranges in the apple juicer, it would break the system. So to ensure that the factory runs efficiently it is made sure that apples are stored in the storage of the segment having apple juicer and accordingly for other segments. This will ensure the smooth running of the factory. So you can say that the factory was encapsulated.

3. Inheritance: It is the process to create new classes or subclasses from an existing class. The existing class is called the parent class, and the derived class is called sub-class or inherited class. The inherited class have the behaviour of parent class, and in addition, can have its own characteristics.

For Example, if we have Animal as a Parent class, then we can create Cat, Dog classes inherited from the Parent class because Dog and Cat have one thing in common: they both are animals and will have properties of animals, which means properties defined in Animal class(Parent class).

4. Polymorphism: It means taking many forms. Polymorphism occurs due to inheritance. Polymorphism often saves you from the unnecessary creation of new functions with similar functionality but a different number of arguments or inputs. In OOP, code resembles the real-world examples, data is stored in variables and logic in methods or functions.

Recommended Topic, procedure call in compiler design and, logic for programming

What is a procedural programming language?

You’ve understood all about object oriented programming above.Now let’s move towards making a better understanding towards procedural programming also. Procedural programming is also a programming paradigm based on the concept of the procedure call. It is derived from structured programming. Procedures are simply a series of steps to be followed. Some of the first procedural programming languages were Fortran, ALGOL, C etc. The computer processors provide hardware support to procedural programming through a stack register and also provide instructions for calling procedures and returning from the stack.

Procedural programming languages are also imperative languages to make explicit references to the state of the execution environment. The major difference between these is procedural programming depends on blocks and scope whereas imperative programming may have or not have these features.

Difference between procedural and object oriented programming

The objective of procedural programming is to break down a program into a collection of variables, data structures whereas the main aim of object-oriented programming is to break down a programming task into objects. In simple words, procedural programming uses procedures to operate on data structures, while object-oriented uses objects for the purpose.

In both programming paradigms, the nomenclature is different though have similar semantics:

Procedural Programming

Object-oriented Programming

Procedure callMessage

 Based on Characteristics: Procedural programming has Local variables, sequence, selection, iteration, and modularisation. Object-oriented programming has Objects, methods, message passing, information hiding, data abstraction, encapsulation, polymorphism, inheritance, serialisation-marshalling.

Accessing modes: In Object-oriented programming, there are three accessing modes – Public, Private, and Protected. There are no such access modes in Procedural programming.

Execution: In Object-oriented programming, various functions can execute simultaneously. In procedural programming, there is a systematic approach in which functions get executed step-by-step.

Data Control: In Object-oriented programming, data and functions are accessible within the same class while in procedural programming, data can move freely.

Security: Object-oriented programming is more secure than procedural programming, because of the level of abstraction or we can say data hiding property. It limits the access of data to the member functions of the same class. While there is no such data hiding in the procedural programming paradigm.

Process: Object-Oriented programming follows the bottom-up approach while Procedural programming follows the top-down approach while designing a program.

Division: In Object-oriented programming, the program is divided into small entities called objects whereas in Procedural programming the program is divided into sub-procedures.

Procedural Programming

Object-oriented Programming

It focuses on the process and functions.It focuses on the data and classes.
It is not easy to maintain.It is easy to maintain.
In this paradigm, if a sub-procedure has to be modified, it becomes difficult to find and maintain it.In this paradigm, it is easy to maintain code and modify existing code.
Due to its complexity, development time increases.Due to easy maintenance, development time reduces.
Procedural programming languages are not as faster as object-oriented.The object-oriented programming languages are faster and more effective.
Procedural uses procedures, modules, procedure calls.Object-oriented uses objects, classes, messages.
It focuses on procedure rather data which has priority in data-driven systems.It focuses on data rather than procedures.
In procedural programming, designs cannot be reused and recycled throughout the program.In object-oriented programming, designs can be reused throughout the program.
While solving issues in procedural programming, issues need to be addressed individually.In object-oriented programming, objects and classes can be referenced throughout the program.
Data hiding is not possible.Data hiding is possible, hence more secure than procedural.
Operator overloading is not allowed.In OOP, operator overloading is allowed.
It has no such concepts like Inheritance.It has four main concepts – Abstraction, Encapsulation, Inheritance, and Polymorphism.
The different parts of the program are connected via parameter passing.The different functions of objects are connected via message passing.

Up till here you’ve learned so much about both but one thing is missing i.e let’s see disadvantages of object oriented programming and procedural programming.

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Must read: Features of Object Oriented Programming

Which process is best?

Both the approaches are good to go and depends upon an individual or team which approach they prefer. Object-oriented and procedural are high-level programming paradigms to solve problems in less time by writing modular code. But OOP is best when it comes to bigger applications as procedural is not good for complex applications.

Check out this article - Compile Time Polymorphism

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between procedural and object-oriented programming?

Procedural programming uses procedures organized into functions, while OOP uses classes and objects to tie data and behaviour closely together. Procedural programming treats data as separate from procedures, while OOP emphasizes the relationship between data and behaviour.

Despite so many benefits, why do developers criticise object-oriented programming?

Some developers criticize object-oriented programming (OOP) for its complexity, as it can be difficult to understand and design software using the OOP paradigm. OOP can also lead to performance issues and requires more memory than other programming paradigms.

Why C++ is both procedural and object-oriented?

C++ is both procedural and object-oriented because it is an extension of the C programming language, which is procedural, but also includes features of OOP. C++ allows programmers to use either programming paradigm or a combination of both.


We hope this article was informative and helped you gain more insights about difference between Procedural and Object -Oriented Programming. To explore more articles, visit our blog page today.

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