C++ vs. Python: Full Comparison

programming language

C++ vs. Python: Full Comparison

There are many languages available to computer programmers. Every programming language has its pros and cons. Python and C++ are both well-known as multipurpose tools. Professional programmers use both to create games, perform complex calculations and work with emerging AI technology.

However, there are more differences than similarities between the two platforms. Understanding how each language functions will help programmers make informed decisions for their next project.

C++ vs Python: Side-by-Side Comparison

First version release:19821991
Current version:C++ 20Python 3.11
Ease of use:ComplexSimple
Memory management:ManualAutomatic
Typing style:StaticDynamic

C++ vs Python: Five Must-Know Facts

  • C++ is a multifunctional programming language that performs fast calculations.
  • Python is a user-friendly language built with a logical syntax.
  • C++ is a favored language for large programs and 3D gaming.
  • Python supports many data analysis, machine learning, and AI projects.
  • Python is often the first language that computer science students learn.

Understanding C++

The original version of C++ was introduced in 1979.

Danish programmer Bjarne Stroustrup introduced the first version of C++ in 1979. His new language was an extension of the widely-used programming language, C. With this iteration, he hoped to move C programming toward the emerging object-oriented model. Stroustrup originally started his project as C with Classes.

The features of C++ have expanded over the ensuing decades. The programming language is currently at version C++20 after going through six revisions. From C with Classes, it has grown to include features for generic, functional, and object-oriented programming. These changes have moved the language further from C. While there are similarities between the two languages, programmers cannot assume backward compatibility between the platforms.

C++ is a compiled language that uses a static model for data types. This design improves the speed of its programs. Maintaining consistent data types prevents errors and optimizes the code for machine language.

While C++ is a flexible language that allows for a wide variety of applications, it has a reputation for complexity. Beginning programmers may struggle with the syntax, and large projects can become burdensome. However, the language works well alongside other language ecosystems, allowing programmers to build a platform framework out of C++ and use other tools for related applications.

The Perks of Python

Python was developed by Guido van Rossum in 1991.

In 1991, Dutch developer Guido van Rossum released the first edition of Python. He hoped to create a programming language that made development more accessible. This object-oriented language uses a readable syntax with a logical structure. Its accessibility has made it one of the most popular languages for teaching introductory programming ideas and techniques.

Because many students learn Python as a first language, loyal programmers have expanded the capability of the platform with libraries and extensions. If the standard Python library does not have the resources for a developer’s applications, there are hundreds of open-source, custom modules created by other users.

The ease of use of this language leads to both pros and cons. The flexibility inherent in the platform makes it accessible to more users and applications. However, as an interpreted language that takes a dynamic approach to data types, it has slower performance than compiled languages like C++.

Python is often the language of choice for complex programs that do not require high-speed performance. Programmers working with machine learning and AI may start their work using the simpler syntax of Python and then convert their program to a more challenging but faster language.

Python is currently in version 3.11. Programmers should be aware of compatibility issues between Python 2 and Python 3. While some legacy programs still run on the older version, the standard for modern programming is Python 3. The differences between the versions can impact performance, but several conversion tools exist to help programmers update their code.

C++ vs Python: Which One Should You Use?

The similarities between C++ and Python come from their initial design. Both Stroustrup and van Rossum wanted to create flexible tools that could enhance development across several fields. As a result, programs in both languages support applications in the medical, scientific, desktop, and gaming industries.

The differences are primarily related to performance and ease of use. These factors will determine which language is best for a developer’s next project. C++ has a faster processing speed than Python, but it is also a more challenging language to learn. Python is easier to understand, and it has a broader collection of supportive libraries than C++, but its slower speed may be a limiting factor.

Some programmers take a modular approach that combines the best of the two languages. While they do not have direct compatibility, they can work in tandem. Developers will use C++ for modules that depend on fast performance and Python for areas where speed is not a factor. As with most programming projects, understanding the scope and goals of the application will determine the best language moving forward.

Is Python Still Relevant?

In a word, yes.

In May 2023, the TIOBE index ranked Python as the most popular language. (The TIOBE Programming Community index is updated once a month and gauges the popularity of programming languages.) Some of the top companies that use Python are Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM, Netflix, and PayPal just to name a few. This versatile language is most often used for data science, web application development, and machine learning, though it can also be used for game and mobile application development.

Python In the News

On May 2, 2023, AI infrastructure company Modular launched Mojo. This program for AI developers is fully compatible with the Python ecosystem and it marries Python’s usability with C performance. It leverages Python’s compile-time metaprogramming, systems programming, and syntax, but, according to Modular, is faster than C++.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better, C++ or Python?

Both Python and C++ have pros and cons that would put programmers in opposing camps. Python’s simple syntax and copious libraries make it an extremely flexible programming language. However, if speed is a concern, C++ may be the appropriate language.

Which is more powerful, Python or C++?

Most programmers look at power in terms of performance. Because C++ has a design that allows for faster speed, they will identify this language as more powerful than Python.

Why is C++ preferred over Python?

Some programmers prefer C++ over Python because of its performance. As a statically typed, compiled language, programs in C++ generally have a faster runtime. This attribute makes a difference in programs like 3D games that depend on fast speeds.

Is Python or C++ better for machine learning?

Most programmers consider Python the better language for machine learning due to its ease of use. AI and machine learning programs quickly become complex, so a simple syntax benefits developers.

Which is easier to use, C++ or Python?

Guido van Rossum designed Python to be a readable programming language. A student with minimal training should be able to understand the function of a program by viewing the code. For this reason, Python is frequently used as a training language for new computer science students.

How fast is C++ compared to Python?

Depending on the complexity of calculations, C++ is anywhere from 10 to 100 times faster than Python. Python programs also tend to use more RAM than applications built with C++. However, many programmers acknowledge that the simple syntax of Python makes it a much faster language for development.

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