Difference Between Compiler and Assembler

Difference Between Compiler and Assembler

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Updated on Feb 9, 2023 16:51 IST

The main difference between compiler and assembler is that a compiler allows you to convert high-level programming language code into machine language code. In contrast, an assembler allows you to convert assembly-level language code into machine language code.

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In this article, we will explore the difference between compiler and assembler in great detail. But before we dive deeper into compiler vs assembler, let’s go through the topics listed under the table of contents (TOC) that we will cover in this blog.

Table of contents (TOC)

Difference between compiler and assembler (Compiler vs Assembler)

Compiler and assembler both of these are terms that are relevant in the context of program execution and, therefore, can be pretty confusing for some of us. So, in order to understand the difference between compiler and assembler in a better way, let’s explore it in a tabular format.

Benchmark Compiler Assembler
What’s its main function? Converts high-level programming language code into machine language code. Converts assembly-level language code into machine language code.
Does it convert the entire code at a single time? Yes No
Number of phases Seven Two
Phases Lexical analysis, Syntax analysis, Semantic analysis, Intermediate code generation, Code optimization, Code generation, and Error handler First phase and the second phase
What does it take as input? Source code Assembly level code
How many types are there? Four Two
Types Cross-compiler, bootstrap compiler, decompiler, and source-to-source compiler One pass assemblers and load-and-go assemblers
Time required for execution Less in comparison to an assembler More in comparison to a compiler
When are the errors shown? Once the whole program is scanned. In the first phase.
Examples C++, Java, C, etc. GNU, GAS, etc.

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What is a compiler? 

Compiler definition: A compiler allows you to convert or translate high-level programming language code into machine language code.

It translates code written using a high-level language such as C++ or Java into lower-level or machine-level language instructions. Once the code has been translated into a machine-level language by a compiler, the source program becomes object code. If the translated code does not match the rules of its language, a compiler will record all errors. But, a compiler shows the errors in the program only once the whole program is scanned. The user has to remove all the errors shown before they can execute the code. If all the errors are not removed from the program, you will not be able to execute the program.

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Advantages of a compiler

Now that we know what a compiler is let’s go through some of the advantages of using a compiler. Here are the advantages:

  • The compiler is way faster than most other language processors.
  • A compiler generates an executable file that can run without requiring source code
  • A compiler is well optimized as the executable file’s machine code is native to the machine.
  • It improves security by concealing the actual source program, thus making it private and secure.

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What is an assembler?

Assembler definition: A assembler allows you to convert assembly-level language code into machine language code.

In layman’s terms, an assembler converts basic computer instructions into bits pattern that the computer’s processor use in order to perform basic operations. These instructions are known as assembly language. Assembly language code can consist of various instructions or symbols (mnemonics), such as ADD, SUB, MOV, DIV, etc. An assembler translates these instructions into binary code, which the machine understands. In simple words, an assembler bridges the gap between a human and a machine.

Advantages of an assembler

Now that we know what an assembler is, let’s go through some of the advantages of using an assembler. Here are the advantages:

  • Assembler is a translation system software that is as swift as machine language.
  • You can easily create an assembler for translating purposes, but this is different when creating a compiler.
  • An assembler can help you figure out what’s going on, and because of this feature, assemblers are frequently used for brute force attacks, computer forensics, and so on.

Key differences between compiler and assembler (Compiler vs. Assembler)

Now that we have understood what compilers and assemblers are, let’s explore the key differences between a compiler and an assembler.

  • A compiler uses source code as input, but an assembler uses assembly-level code as input.
  • The compiler takes less time for program execution, but an assembler requires more time.
  • A compiler converts high-level programming language code into machine language code, whereas an assembler converts assembly-level language code into machine language code.
  • The compiler checks and converts the entire code in a single time. On the other hand, an assembler generally does not check and convert the entire code simultaneously. Rather than doing it in a single time, it detects errors in the first phase, fixes them, and then the second phase executes.

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Conclusion

In terms of compiler vs assembler, the main difference between these two is that a compiler allows you to convert assembly-level language code into machine language code. On the other hand, an assembler converts assembly-level language code into machine language code.

I hope that after reading this article, the difference between compiler and assembler, you will be able to understand the difference between these two. If you have any queries related to this topic, please drop them in the comment box. We will be happy to help you!

FAQs

What is the main difference between compiler and assembler?

The main difference between compiler and assembler is that a compiler allows you to convert high-level programming language code into machine language code. In contrast, an assembler allows you to convert assembly-level language code into machine language code.

Regarding the difference between compiler and assembler, which one of these two takes more time for program execution?

In terms of the difference between compiler and assembler, the compiler takes less time for program execution, and an assembler requires more time.

Regarding the difference between compiler and assembler, which one of these two takes source code as input?

In terms of the difference between compiler and assembler, a compiler uses source code as input, and an assembler uses assembly-level code as input.

Regarding the difference between compiler and assembler, what is compiler example?

In terms of the difference between compiler and assembler, C, C++, Java, etc., are examples of compilers.

Regarding the difference between compiler and assembler, what is assembler example?

In terms of the difference between compiler and assembler, GNU, GAS, etc., are examples of assemblers.

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