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How Compilers and Interpreters Work: A Detailed Comparison and PDF Download


Difference between Compiler and Interpreter PDF Download




If you are interested in learning about the difference between compiler and interpreter, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will explain what compilers and interpreters are, why they are needed, how they work, and what are their main differences. We will also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both methods, and provide some examples of programming languages that use them. By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of the difference between compiler and interpreter, and you will be able to download a PDF version of this article for your reference.




difference between compiler and interpreter pdf download


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Introduction




Before we dive into the difference between compiler and interpreter, let's first understand what they are and why they are important.


What is a compiler?




A compiler is a program that translates the source code written in a high-level programming language (such as C, Java, Python, etc.) into a low-level machine language (such as binary code) that can be executed by the computer. A compiler usually performs several steps to convert the source code into an executable code, such as lexical analysis, syntax analysis, semantic analysis, code optimization, and code generation. A compiler produces an output file that contains the object code or the executable code that can be run by the computer.


What is an interpreter?




An interpreter is a program that executes the source code written in a high-level programming language (such as Python, Ruby, JavaScript, etc.) directly without converting it into a low-level machine language. An interpreter usually performs one step at a time to execute the source code, such as reading, parsing, evaluating, and executing each line or statement of the source code. An interpreter does not produce an output file that contains the object code or the executable code; instead, it executes the source code on the fly.


Why do we need compilers and interpreters?




We need compilers and interpreters because computers can only understand machine language (such as binary code), which is very difficult for humans to write and read. High-level programming languages (such as C, Java, Python, etc.) are more user-friendly and expressive for humans to write and read. Therefore, we need compilers and interpreters to bridge the gap between high-level programming languages and machine language, and to enable computers to execute the programs written by humans.


Main differences between compiler and interpreter




Now that we know what compilers and interpreters are and why they are needed, let's look at some of the main differences between them.


Compilation vs interpretation process




The first difference between compiler and interpreter is how they process the source code. The compilation process involves several steps to convert the entire source code into an executable code before running it. The interpretation process involves one step to execute each line or statement of the source code as it is read.


Source code




The source code is the original program written by the programmer in a high-level programming language. It is usually stored in a text file with a specific extension (such as .c for C language, .java for Java language, .py for Python language, etc.). The source code is the input for both compiler and interpreter.


Intermediate code




The intermediate code is the code that is generated by the compiler after performing some analysis and optimization on the source code. It is usually stored in a file with a different extension (such as .o for object code, .class for bytecode, etc.). The intermediate code is not executable by the computer, but it can be used by another program (such as a linker or a virtual machine) to produce the executable code. The interpreter does not generate any intermediate code.


Object code




The object code is the code that is generated by the linker after combining the intermediate code with other libraries and resources. It is usually stored in a file with the same extension as the executable code (such as .exe for Windows, .out for Linux, etc.). The object code is executable by the computer, but it may depend on some external factors (such as operating system, hardware, etc.) to run properly. The interpreter does not generate any object code.


Executable code




The executable code is the final output of the compiler that can be run by the computer. It is usually stored in a file with the same extension as the object code (such as .exe for Windows, .out for Linux, etc.). The executable code is independent of the source code and can be run without any further processing. The interpreter does not produce any executable code; instead, it executes the source code directly.


Speed and performance




The second difference between compiler and interpreter is their speed and performance. The compilation process takes more time than the interpretation process because it involves several steps to convert the entire source code into an executable code. However, once the compilation is done, the executable code runs faster than the interpreted code because it does not need any further processing. The interpretation process takes less time than the compilation process because it involves one step to execute each line or statement of the source code. However, each time the interpreted code is run, it needs to be processed again, which makes it slower than the compiled code.


Memory usage and error detection




The third difference between compiler and interpreter is their memory usage and error detection. The compilation process uses more memory than the interpretation process because it generates intermediate and object codes that need to be stored in memory. However, the compilation process can detect more errors (such as syntax errors, semantic errors, type errors, etc.) at compile time and prevent them from running. The interpretation process uses less memory than the compilation process because it does not generate any intermediate or object codes that need to be stored in memory. However, the interpretation process can detect fewer errors (such as runtime errors, logical errors, etc.) at run time and may cause unexpected results or crashes.


Portability and platform dependency




The fourth difference between compiler and interpreter is their portability and platform dependency. The compilation process produces platform-dependent executable codes that can only run on specific platforms (such as Windows, Linux, Mac OS, etc.). Therefore, if the source code needs to be run on different platforms, it needs to be compiled separately for each platform. The interpretation process produces platform-independent interpreted codes that can run on any platform that has an interpreter installed. Therefore, if the source code needs to be run on different platforms, it does not need to be interpreted separately for each platform.


Advantages and disadvantages of compiler and interpreter




Based on the differences between compiler and interpreter, we can summarize some of their advantages and disadvantages as follows:


Advantages of compiler





  • It produces faster and more efficient executable codes that can run without any further processing.



  • It can detect more errors at compile time and prevent them from running.



  • It provides more security and protection for the source code because it does not reveal it to anyone.



Disadvantages of compiler





  • It takes more time and memory to compile the entire source code into an executable code.



  • It produces platform-dependent executable codes that can only run on specific platforms.



  • It may require more debugging and testing to ensure that the executable codes work properly on different platforms.



Advantages of interpreter





  • It takes less time and memory to interpret each line or statement of the source code.



  • It produces platform-independent interpreted codes that can run on any platform that has an interpreter installed.



  • It allows more flexibility and interactivity for the programmer because it can execute the source code on the fly.



Disadvantages of interpreter





time it is run.


  • It can detect fewer errors at run time and may cause unexpected results or crashes.



  • It provides less security and protection for the source code because it reveals it to anyone.



Conclusion




In conclusion, we have learned about the difference between compiler and interpreter, and how they process the source code written in a high-level programming language. We have also discussed some of the main differences between them in terms of compilation vs interpretation process, speed and performance, memory usage and error detection, portability and platform dependency, and advantages and disadvantages. We hope that this article has helped you to understand the difference between compiler and interpreter, and to choose the best method for your programming needs. If you want to download a PDF version of this article, you can click on the link below.


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about the difference between compiler and interpreter:



  • What are some examples of programming languages that use compilers?



Some examples of programming languages that use compilers are C, C++, Java, C#, Fortran, Pascal, etc.


  • What are some examples of programming languages that use interpreters?



Some examples of programming languages that use interpreters are Python, Ruby, JavaScript, PHP, Perl, etc.


  • What are some examples of programming languages that use both compilers and interpreters?



Some examples of programming languages that use both compilers and interpreters are Java, C#, Python, etc. These languages use compilers to generate intermediate codes (such as bytecode or IL code) that can be executed by interpreters (such as JVM or CLR).


  • What is the difference between a compiler and a linker?



A compiler is a program that translates the source code into an intermediate code or an object code. A linker is a program that combines the object code with other libraries and resources to produce an executable code.


  • What is the difference between an interpreter and a virtual machine?



An interpreter is a program that executes the source code directly without converting it into a low-level machine language. A virtual machine is a program that executes an intermediate code (such as bytecode or IL code) that has been generated by a compiler from the source code.


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