What Is The Difference Between Compiler And Interpreter -2021

What is the difference between compiler and interpreter and which one is best

Why compiler and interpreter are used?

Compiler and interpreter are both source code translators. Source code is what you write in your IDE. Actually, the code you initially write in your IDE is called high-level language (The language which is understandable to humans but not to computers) and that needs to be translated into low-level language (vise versa to high-level language) which is 0s and 1s. And this task is usually done by two agents (system software) i) Compiler, and ii) Interpreter. So, Today we will see how these agents do their tasks differently. 

What is Compiler and how it works?

Compiler is a computer program developed to translate high-level language (source code) to low-level language (machine code). Compiler reads the whole source code at once and analyzes the error if there is any. After that, it generates an executable code (machine code) which you need to execute (run) to get your system to perform the task you instructed or to get the output. This executable file, then can be shared with anyone and he/she can execute in his/her system without your actual source code or installing anything, but this file can be system dependent, meaning it may or may not run on your client system.

Compiler and an Interpreter, How compiler works animation gif
How Compiler works animation gif

Advantages and Disadvantages of Compiler

Advantages of CompilerDisadvantages of Compiler
Run quickly, since they have already been translatedTakes extra memory as it generates separate executable files
Can be optimized for CPU, which makes it fasterThe executable file is not system independent means it may or may not works in some computers
Can be shared without source codeTo execute some task it go through extra step of generating executable files
Harder to debug code
Pros and cons of compiler

What is Interpreter and how it works?

Similar to Compiler, Interpreter also translates source code from high language to low language. But it does it differently, unlike compiler, interpreter reads the source code line by line and warns you at the same time if there’s an error, which makes it easy to debug but slower compared to the compiler. Also, interpreter doesn’t convert your source code into a separate executable file, instead, it does it while executing your program at the same time.

So if you want to share your program(system instruction) with others, you need to share your source code (which invades privacy if you are concerned but makes it easy to change/debug for the client if he/she needs to) and also the client must have an interpreter to execute the file.
Also Read -> Difference between libraries and Framework

What is an interpreter, and how it works animation
How Interpreter works

Advantages and Disadvantages of Interpreter

Advantages of InterpreterDisadvantages of Compiler
Can be shared with other irrespective of system configuration, means it’s hardware independentSlower in comparative of Compiler
Easier to DebugNeed to share source code, less secured if you are concerned 
To execute the file, client need to have interpreter
Pros and cons of Interpreter

Compiler vs Interpreter: Differences between Compiler and Interpreter  

I highly recommend you to watch this short video, to understand the difference between interpreter and compiler. It explains it very well with the great animation and analogy.

Compiler Interpreter 
Translate the whole source code at onceTranslate the source code line by line
Compilers takes more time to analyze source code but it’s overall speed is faster than interpreter Interpreter takes less time in comparative to compiler to  analyze source code, but overall speed is slower than compiler
Takes extra memory as it generates a separate executable fileTakes less memory in comparative to compiler
Compiler shows all error at once, making it harder to debugAs the interpreter runs the code line by line, it displays the error when it gets it. Which makes it easier to debug 
Clients can execute the codeWithout source code (with executable file)Without downloading any compiler or anythingOnly if the hardware configuration matches means executable file is not independent to systemClients can execute the codeOnly when he/she have source codeIf he/she have interpreter installedIrrespective of system configuration (system independent)
Example includes: C, C++, objective-CExamples includes: PHP, JavaScript
Compiler vs interpreter

Note: Java, Python, C#, VB.NET are Hybrid means they use both.
If you want to learn more about Compiler and Interpreter than you can visit here

Share this post
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email
If you love this article, You can support me on Patreon 🙂

Your support will help me on growing this site, sharing great articles, projects, and cheatsheets. 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments