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Table of contents
Key Differences Between C and Java
Introduction to C Language
Key features of C Language
Advantages of C Programming Language
Disadvantages of C Programming Language
Introduction to Java Language
Key Features of Java Language
Advantages of Java
Disadvantages of Java
Difference Between C and Java
Frequently Asked Question
Is C important for Java?
Why is Java slower than C?
What is an array in Java?
Is Java or C better for embedded systems?
Is Java or C more suitable for developing large-scale software systems?
Last Updated: Jul 3, 2024

Difference Between C and Java

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C and Java are popular and widely used programming languages with distinct characteristics and uses. Both support structured programming and similar syntax but both languages have different purposes. The key difference between C and Java is C is a procedural language that focuses on procedures and functions, whereas Java is an object-oriented language that helps in organizing the code into objects.

Difference Between C and Java

Let’s get started with the C programming language first.

Also Read: C Static Function, Tribonacci Series

Key Differences Between C and Java

The following are some key differences between C and Java:-

  • Language Type: C is a procedural programming language, while Java is an object-oriented programming language.
  • Memory Management: C requires manual memory management, including allocation and deallocation, while Java uses automatic memory management (garbage collection) to handle memory allocation and deallocation.
  • Platform Dependency: C code is platform-dependent and it needs to be recompiled for different processor architectures. Java code runs on the Java Virtual Machine which makes it hardware independent.
  • Pointer Usage: C allows direct pointer manipulation, which can lead to memory leaks, while Java abstracts pointers to enforce safe memory access.
  • Applications: C is commonly used for low-level embedded systems, and Java is used for building multi-platform applications and enterprise-grade software.

Introduction to C Language

C is a programming language that was founded in the 1970s. It was created for system-level programming and is a common tool in creating operating systems and compilers. 

C is also known as a fast programming language with a very easy and basic syntax that makes it simple to learn. Generally, this is the first language that we learn.

C Language

Key features of C Language

Some key features of the C programming language are:-

  • Procedural: C is a procedural language that emphasizes functions and structured programming.
  • Low-Level: It offers direct memory manipulation and hardware control.
  • Portability: Your C code can be compiled for different platforms without much change.
  • Efficiency: C code is highly performant and efficient due to its proximity to low-level hardware.
  • Modularity: C allows your code to be organized into reusable modules.

This was a brief about C language. Now let's discuss Java.

Advantages of C Programming Language

Now, let’s see some pros and cons of C language below.

  • Speed: C is a speedy language, so it is used to run apps that require high speed. 
  • Memory management: It has low-level and manual memory access so that you can use it for better performance.
  • Low-level control: It directly controls hardware, which you can use for programming systems-level applications. 
  • Wide range of applications: It is used to run various apps, from small to large in size.

Disadvantages of C Programming Language

  • Learning curve: It has a steep learning curve because it requires knowledge of low-level concepts such as management, Remembering and pointer.  
  • Security issues: Managing C's low memory can take you to security vulnerabilities if not implemented properly.
  • Lack of mobility: C code could be more mobile, meaning it can only run on different platforms with some modifications. 
  • Limited standard libraries: C standard libraries are limited compared to other languages. You might have used Python or Java, where many libraries are available.
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Introduction to Java Language

Java is a high-level object-oriented language founded in the 1990s. It is platform-independent, which means it may run on any OS. This is one of the best features of the Java language. And also, one of the most outstanding features of Java is security and reliability, including automated memory management and error checking.

Java Language

If you have any issues choosing the best programming language for you, please check this article.

Key Features of Java Language

Some key features of the C programming language are:-

  • Platform Independence: Java runs on the JVM, which abstracts the hardware to make it platform-independent.
  • Object-Oriented: Promotes using the object-oriented programming paradigm to improve code quality.
  • Automatic Memory Management: Java uses garbage collection for cleaning up dynamically allocated memory.
  • Multi-Threading: Java also supports concurrent programming with threads.
  • Architecture-Neutral: It is suitable for distributed systems and network applications.

Also see, Floyd's Triangle in C

Now, we see some pros and cons of Java language below.

Advantages of Java

  • Portability: This is one of the best advantages of Java. It is portable and can run on any system. That’s why it is called platform independent.
  • Object-oriented: It supports Object Oriented programming.
  • Extensive standard library: Java's standard library is vast. If you need any prebuilt function, you just need to type on Google, and you will mostly find it.  
  • Garbage collection: Automatic Java garbage collection helps in memory management and reduces the risk of memory leaks. 

Disadvantages of Java

  • Slower than C: Java is often slower due to its runtime environment and garbage collection.
  • Overhead: The Java runtime environment and garbage collection add overhead, affecting performance. 
  • Low development: Java allows limited access to low-level hardware, which can be problematic for systems-level programming. 
  • Difficulty: To be honest, it requires some syntax to learn, but when you are familiar with it, you will find it easy.

Difference Between C and Java

In the given table below, there is a comparison table and key differences between C and Java.



Developed ByDeveloped at Bell Labs by Dennis Ritchie.Developed by Sun Microsystems.
Used ForSystem-level programming, embedded systems, and more.General-purpose programming, web applications, mobile apps, and more.
Language TypeProceduralObject-oriented
Compilation and InterpretationCompiled directly to machine code by a C compiler.Compiled to bytecode, which is then interpreted by the Java Virtual Machine (JVM).
Language LevelLow-level language with manual memory management.High-level language with automatic memory management (garbage collection).
ParadigmFollows the procedural programming paradigm.Follows the object-oriented programming (OOP) paradigm.
ApproachAllows you to have control over hardware and memory.Emphasizes on code portability and platform independence.
OOPs ConceptDoesn't support OOPs concepts.Supports all OOPs concepts.
File Extension.c (source code) and .exe (compiled executable) (source code) and .class (compiled bytecode).
Building BlockFunctions and data structures are fundamental building blocks.Classes and objects are the building blocks.
Comment StyleSupports // (single-line) and /* */ (multi-line) comments.Supports // (single-line) and /* */ (multi-line) comments as well.
SecurityRelies on the security features of the user operating system.Provides security features like classloaders.
ThreadingRequired platform specific libraries for multithreading.Built-in support for multithreading.
Memory ManagementManual memory managementAutomatic memory management
File GenerationBuilt-in support for reading and writing files to the host system.Classes like ‘FileOutputStream’ and ‘FileWriter’ can be used for file manipulation.
Code ExecutionCompiled code is executed directly by the host machine.Bytecode is executed by the JVM.
MemoryManual memory managementAutomatic garbage collection
PlatformCompiled languagePlatform-independent interpreted language
SyntaxComplex and low-levelSimple and high-level
PointersSupportedNot supported
Exception handlingNot supportedBuilt-in support
InheritanceNot supportedSupported

 Also read C++ vs Java

Frequently Asked Question

Is C important for Java?

No, learning C is not important if you want to learn Java. However, being familiar with a low-level programming language will be beneficial in the long run.

Why is Java slower than C?

Java applications are slower than C because they are executed by the Java Virtual Machine, and this layer of abstraction over raw hardware can lead to slow execution times.

What is an array in Java?

An array in Java is a data structure that allows you to store elements of the same data type in a contiguous memory block, and each element can be accessed in constant time complexity using indexing.

Is Java or C better for embedded systems?

C is often used for embedded systems due to its low-level control over hardware and memory.

Is Java or C more suitable for developing large-scale software systems?

Java is often used for developing large-scale software systems due to its object-oriented nature and scalability.


In the above article, we have covered C - Pros and cons, Java - Pros and cons, the main differences between C and Java and the tabular difference between C and Java.

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