The Key Difference Between C++ and Java

The Key Difference Between C++ and Java

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Jaya Sharma
Assistant Manager - Content
Updated on Sep 30, 2023 21:44 IST

C++ and Java are two popular programming languages that are widely used by programmers. Both languages have significant applications and this is why they have become popular over years.


In this article on the difference between C++ and Java, we will learn how these two languages differ. We will also learn what these languages are.

Table of Contents

Difference Between C++ and Java

Parameter C++ Java
Programming model Supports both procedural and object oriented programming Only supports object oriented programming models
Platform dependence Platform dependent Platform independent
Supported Features Operator overloading, pointers, unions, Goto statements, structures Does not support Structures, Pointers, Unions, Operator overloading, Goto statements
Interpretation Not possible Possible
Memory Management Manual System controlled
Global Scope Both global scope and namespace scope are supported No global scope support

Summary of Differences

The two programming languages have their own applications and significance. Let us understand the key difference between C++ and Java. 

1. Platform dependence 

C++ is compiled and run through a compiler that converts the source code into machine code. This is why C++ is platform-dependent. C++ does not create intermediate files after code compilation which is why you need to compile your code on the C compiler for running it every time. On the other hand, Java creates an intermediate file called class file after compilation and if you do have ‘jvm’ on any computer, then you can easily run the class file without the need for any compilation. 

2. Multiple Inheritance

C++ supports multiple inheritance which refers to a class derived from more than one direct base class. Let us say that we have a class Z, which is derived from two classes – X and Y. This is what the code would look like in order to implement multiple inheritance in C++ (assuming we have classes X and Y)

class X { /* … */ };
class Y { /* … */ };
// C++ supports multiple inheritance:
class Z : public X, public Y
/* … */
Copy code

Java does not support multiple inheritance. Instead, it has interfaces that are used in place of multiple inheritances.

3. Documentation Comments Support

C++ does not support documentation comments whereas Java does support it. Comments are used as notes for users who read source code. These are effectively ignored by the compiler when it is inserted into a program. C++ does not support documentation comments. Although several utilities are there in C++ to parse comments with different documentation formats. On the other hand, such support is available in Java for creating documentation for java source code.

4. Inheritance tree

There is a forest of classes in C++; when a class is created that does not inherit from another, a new tree is created. In Java, since all classes directly or indirectly inherit from the Object class, it always has a single inheritance tree of classes. 

5. Virtual Keyword Support

In C++, a virtual keyword is used for creating virtual functions. This keyword forces the compiler to pick method implementation which is defined in the object’s class rather than in the class of the pointer. We can decide whether to override a function or not through a virtual keyword. On the other hand, Java does not have a virtual keyword. By default, we can override all the non-static methods.

6. Operator Overloading 

Operator overloading is supported by C++ but it is not supported in Java. Operator overloading is a case of polymorphism in which different types of operators have different implementations based on their argument. A programmer and programming language can define operator overloading. In C++, you are allowed to redefine most built-in operators. 

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What is C++?

C++ is a general-purpose programming language that is an extension of C. It was created by Bjarne Stroustrup in the year 1985. The language is used for the development of servers, performance-critical applications, games, GUI Based Applications, Libraries, Operating Systems, Database Software, Computation and Graphics, Browsers, Banking applications and Cloud storage system.

Explore free C++ courses

What is Java?

On the other hand, Java is a high-level programming language meant to minimize implementation dependencies. In Java, programmers are required to write only once. You can run compiled Java code on Java supportable platforms without the requirement for recompilation. This is a general-purpose language that is used for the development of games, web, mobile and desktop applications for devices such as computers, laptops and gaming consoles.

Explore free Java courses 


We have many articles on C++ and articles on Java that you can read if you want to learn about the different aspects of these programming languages. Both languages are extremely popular since they are used for developing things that were not thought of before. Many other languages are also based on these two.


What is a constructor in C++?

It is a special type of member function that is automatically executed whenever an object is created. There are three types of constructors including Default, Copy and Parameterized constructor. Let us know about them.u00a0 Default constructor has no parameter and it does not take any argument.u00a0 Parameterized Constructor provides different values to data members of different objects. This is done by passing appropriate values as arguments. Copy constructors are the special type of Constructors that take an object as an argument and it is used to copy values of data members of one object into the other object.

What is a destructor in C++?

Whenever an object is destroyed, a function known as destructor gets automatically called. It has the same name as that of the constructor but it is preceded by a tilde (~). class Z{ u00a0private: u00a0u00a0int val; u00a0public: u00a0u00a0Z(int x){u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0 u00a0u00a0u00a0val=x; u00a0u00a0} u00a0u00a0Z(){u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0 u00a0u00a0} u00a0u00a0~Z(){u00a0 u00a0 u00a0 u00a0 u00a0 u00a0 u00a0 u00a0 u00a0 //destructor u00a0u00a0} } int main(){ u00a0Z a(3);u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0 u00a0return 0; }

What is a class and object in C++?

A class is a data type defined by the user. This class has data members and member functions. An object is an instance of the class which is also known as the variable of the data type.u00a0 Class X will be defined as: class X{ private: u00a0int data; public: u00a0void fun(){ u00a0} };

Define abstraction in C++.

It is the process of displaying essential details to the user while hiding details that are irrelevant to that user.u00a0

Define Inheritance.

Inheritance is the process of new class creation from existing/base classes. New classes inherit every capability of the base class along with its new features.

Why is Java known to be a platform-independent language?

Java does not depend on any software or hardware since the compiler compiles the code and converts it into a platform-independent byte code. This byte code can run on multiple systems if the machine has a runtime environment (JRE) installed in it.

Define instance variables.

Instance variables define the property of an object and are bound to it. These are declared inside the class and outside the method. These variables are accessible by every method in the class.u00a0 If any modifications are made to these variables, then only that particular instance will be impacted by it and the rest of the class instances remain unaffected.

Define the concept of data encapsulation.

In data encapsulation, data attributes and their behaviours are kept hidden in a single unit. This is used for securing an object's private property. The concept of data encapsulation ensures that each object has its own functionalities and attributes and so the object stays independent of other objects.u00a0

Can we overload static methods?

Yes, it is possible. In a class, there can be more than two static methods having the same name but these methods should have different input parameters.u00a0

Differentiate between HashMap and HashTable.

HashMap is not synchronized and is suitable for non-threaded applications. HashTable is synchronized and is suitable for threaded applications. In HashMap, only one null key is allowed whereas no null key is allowed in HashTable.u00a0

What is Object Cloning?

Object cloning is the process of creating an object's exact copy. In order to achieve this in Java, a class has to implement the cloneable interface of 'java.lang package' and override clone() method which is provided by the Object class.u00a0

About the Author
Jaya Sharma
Assistant Manager - Content

Jaya is a writer with an experience of over 5 years in content creation and marketing. Her writing style is versatile since she likes to write as per the requirement of the domain. She has worked on Technology, Fina... Read Full Bio