Difference between Compiler and Interpreter

3 minute read
Difference between Compiler and Interpreter

Have you ever thought about how a computer understands your commands? The computer can only interpret programs that are in the form of 0 and 1 or the binary language. Hence conversion from source code into machine code determines the final program. Interpreters and compilers are responsible for this conversion of a high-level language into machine code. But if both of them are doing the same thing, what makes them different? Let us find it out through this blog on the difference between compiler and interpreter!

Key Difference Between Compiler and Interpreter

Interpreter  Compiler
It is also called “Software Simulation”.Changes program line by line and one statement at a time It is also called “Software Translation” as it scans the entire program and translates it into machine code
Interpreters are Memory efficient as there is no central object code The compiler produces the standard intermediate object code which further needs code linking, hence requires more memory
Takes less time to convert the source code but the execution is slower The conversion of source code takes a lot of time but the execution is fast
An interpreter executed the code line by line hence the memory requirement is higher than compiler due to the creation of object code It produces the error message only after scanning the complete program. Which makes the process of debugging comparatively harder 
An interpreter seeks to Continue translating the program until the first error is identified, and stops the executing code by showing the error. Which makes debugging easy in interpreters  Compilation and execution take place simultaneously
Displays error of each line one by one. Display all errors after compilation, all at the same time.
Programming languages used interpreters are Ruby and Python   Compilers use Programming languages like C, C++, Java  

Check out the list of Scripting Languages!

What is a Compiler?

A compiler is a program that changes the source code of a programming language into executable computer code. The CPU only understands the program written in 0’s and 1’s and converts the executable program into machine code that is recognized by computers. Source code, without a compiler, is considered as an ineffective set of instructions. A compiler takes it and converts into a program that is called.EXE or  “executable”.file. (FORTRAN, COBOL, LISP)

How Compiler Works
How Compiler Works

Advantages of a Compiler 

  • Compilers are used to ensure improved performance and it also improves security for professional programmers and makes it much harder to copy one’s code
  • Compilers also enhance execution time by converting the program into an executable object code, which is more compact and runs much-faster hence ensures Reduced system load
  • The advantages of a compiler in software coding include higher performance in terms of execution and provide better error detection mechanisms, protection of source code, and enhanced optimization for specific hardware
  • Ensures SAA compliance checking for every line of the program code 

What is Interpreter? 

An Interpreter is defined as a machine program that directly executes a set of instructions without compiling them. An interpreter processes the source code to a program and implements dispatch and parsing at runtime. The code is “compiled” into program calls within the interpreter’s mechanism. Translating or scanning such a program to a new target doesn’t allow the user to execute it. Computer Interpreters are of various kinds have also been developed for many languages like Fortran, Cobol, Algol C, and C++.

How Interpreter works
How Interpreter works

Advantages of Interpreter

  • Code written in interpreted languages and is compatible with all executable programs and will work the same across all kinds of platforms
  • It requires no re-compiling and paging of programs and needs to be programmed once before the conversion. This makes interpreted languages more flexible than compiled ones. You also don’t have to re-write your code every time you revise it
  • An interpreter works on the principle of software simulation It can be much easier to debug as we have total control over program source code.

Find out the difference between C and Java!

Hopefully, this blog has helped you to acquire all the necessary information on the difference between Compiler and Interpreter. A career in the world of computer science is bright and full of lucrative opportunities. If you have a dream to make a career in this field, let Leverage Edu be your heling hand, book and e-meeting session with our experts and make your dream a reality!

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