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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
What is Byte Code?
3.
What is Machine Code?
4.
Difference between Byte Code and Machine Code
5.
Working of Byte code and Machine code during Program execution
6.
Frequently Asked Questions
6.1.
What is the difference between byte code and binary code?
6.2.
What is the difference between byte code and compiled code?
6.3.
What is the difference between bytecode and object code?
6.4.
What is the difference between bytecode and source code?
7.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Difference Between Byte Code and Machine Code

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Introduction

Bytecode is a form of code generated from the compilation of source code. Unlike machine code, it can't be executed directly by the CPU and needs an interpreter for running. 

Difference Between Byte Code and Machine Code

Whereas machine code is the CPU-understandable language stored in binary format, requiring no further interpretation or compilation.

What is Byte Code?

Byte code is an intermediary code form used in languages like Java. It's generated by compiling source code and serves as an intermediate step before execution. Unlike machine code, which is specific to hardware architecture, byte code is platform-independent. It allows Java programs to be executed on any device with a Java Virtual Machine (JVM), which interprets byte code into machine code at runtime.

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What is Machine Code?

Machine code, conversely, is the lowest level of programming language understood by computers. It comprises binary instructions directly executable by the CPU. Machine code is hardware-dependent, meaning it varies across different CPU architectures. It's typically generated by compilers or assemblers from high-level programming languages or assembly language, respectively. Machine code is the language of the computer's central processing unit, providing the instructions necessary to perform tasks and manipulate data at the hardware level.

Difference between Byte Code and Machine Code

Now that we know what Bytecode and Machine code are, let's go through their differences to understand them better.

BYTE CODE

MACHINE CODE

It is an intermediate between source code and Machine code. It is a low-level language.
Its instructions contain binary and hexadecimal characters with macro commands like new, add, swap, etc. Its instructions are written in a binary form containing only 0s and 1s.
Byte code requires an interpreter to get executed. The CPU directly executes machine code.
Byte code can be executed using a virtual machine without requiring a CPU. Machine code entirely relies on the CPU for its execution.
It is platform-independent and not machine-specific. Byte code can be executed on any virtual machine or software. It is platform-dependent and machine-specific. Machine code is unique to system architecture and the Operating system.
The entire source code need not be converted into bytecode. The high-level language portion of the source code alone undergoes conversion, which is later transformed into object code for the CPU to execute. The complete source code undergoes transformation to obtain machine code for CPU execution irrespective of being a high-level or low-level language.

Working of Byte code and Machine code during Program execution

During the execution of a Java source code, the Java online compiler javac compiles the source code into bytecode. The JVM converts the bytecode into machine code. This is done by deploying the .class file onto the JVM. The JVM uses the java interpreter at runtime to convert the byte code into machine code line-by-line. Any computer with a JVM can execute that bytecode. This makes Java a portable and platform-independent language.

Also read, Swap Function in Java

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between byte code and binary code?

Byte code is a platform-independent intermediate code generated during compilation, typically associated with languages like Java. It's not directly executable by hardware. Binary code, however, consists of machine-specific instructions represented in 0s and 1s, directly interpretable by the CPU.

What is the difference between byte code and compiled code?

Byte code serves as an intermediary between source code and machine code, designed for execution by a virtual machine. Compiled code refers to source code translated directly into machine code specific to a particular hardware architecture.

What is the difference between bytecode and object code?

Bytecode is a platform-independent intermediate representation of code. Object code, however, is machine-specific and represents the compiled version of source or object-oriented programming languages like C++ or Java.

What is the difference between bytecode and source code?

Bytecode is a low-level representation of code generated from the compilation of high-level programming languages. Source code, in contrast, is the human-readable form of a program written by developers before compilation.

Conclusion

Byte code and Machine code act as instructions that help machines behave in a specified manner or perform certain operations/ tasks. The significant difference between these two relates to their processing and execution. This blog briefly explains Byte code and machine code along with their working. It also covers the major differences between the two.

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