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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
What is a compiler?
3.
What is an assembler?
4.
Difference Between Assembler and Compiler
4.1.
Factor
4.2.
Compiler
4.3.
Assembler
5.
Frequently Asked Questions
5.1.
Why is assembler faster than compiler?
5.2.
Which comes first compiler or assembler?
5.3.
What is the difference between assembled and compiled language?
5.4.
What is the basic difference between assembler and interpreter?
5.5.
What is an example of a compiler and assembler?
6.
Conclusion
Last Updated: May 8, 2024
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Difference Between Compiler and Assembler

Author Prerna Tiwari
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Introduction

A compiler identifies errors if the code doesn't adhere to language rules. An assembler translates assembly code into machine code and generates data for the loader.
The main difference between a compiler and an assembler is that a compiler converts high-level programming codes to machine code. In contrast, an assembler converts low-level assembly language codes to machine code.

assembler vs compiler

What is a compiler?

A compiler will record all errors if the submitted code does not follow the rules of its language. This method is much faster than using an interpreter.

A compiler can transform only source code written in a familiar language. As a result, each high-level programming language requires its compiler for conversion. A computer system may also include multiple compilers to support multiple high-level languages.

Some examples of compilers according to their programming languages are:

Compilers

Language

JDeveloper, Eclipse IDE, BlueJ, etc.

JAVA

 

WebStorm, Komodo Edit, Atom IDE, etc.

JavaScript

 

JPython, CPython, Spyder, etc.Python
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What is an assembler?

An assembler is responsible for translating low-level assembly code into relocatable machine code and creating data for the loader. Assembly language code includes mnemonics or symbols/instructions such as ADD, MUX, DIV, SUB, MOV, and so on. These mnemonics are converted to binary code by an assembler.

It generates machine code by evaluating the operation field's mnemonics or symbols/instructions and determining the literal and character values. A single-pass assembler completes all of this work in a single scan. It is otherwise a multiple pass assembler.
Assembly language instructions are contained in the input of an assembler or the source program. The assembler generates computer-readable machine code or object code. Assemblers are thus the first interface through which humans can communicate with machines.

Assemblers include GAS (GNU Assembler), MASM (Microsoft Macro Assembler), NASM (Netwide Assembler), and others.

Difference Between Assembler and Compiler

The difference between assembler vs compiler are as follows:

Factor

Compiler

Assembler

ConvertsSource code to “machine-level language.”Assembly codes to machine codes
InputHigh-level language codesLow-level assembly language code
Output“Mnemonic” form of a machine codeBinary codes
EfficiencyMore efficient and intelligentLess efficient and intelligent
Number of operationsSingle operationMultiple operations
Number of phases

The compiler operates in six stages. Each of these programs converts the original program into a new format. They are as follows:

1.     Lexical analysis

2.     Syntax analysis

3.     Semantic analysis

4.     Intermediate code generator

5.     Code optimizer

6.     Code generator

Each stage receives input from the one before it and outputs to the one after it.

Assemblers generate machine code in two phases: pass 1 and pass 2.

We have tried to cover almost all the difference between assembler and compiler. However, if you want to learn more about the difference between compiler and assembler, you can check out our separate blogs on compiler and assembler.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is assembler faster than compiler?

Assembler code is faster than compiler-generated code because it directly represents machine instructions. Compilers convert high-level code to machine code, which can include extra operations. Assembler code is more efficient but harder to write and understand.

Which comes first compiler or assembler?

First, the compiler comes into the role. It takes the Preprocessed source code as the input and converts it into the assembly code. Then, this assembly code works for the assembler as the input, and then the assembler converts the assembly code into the machine code.

What is the difference between assembled and compiled language?

Assembled languages involve translating source code into machine code using an assembler, producing executable code specific to the target architecture. Compiled languages, however, are translated into machine code by a compiler, resulting in platform-independent executables.

What is the basic difference between assembler and interpreter?

An assembler converts assembly language code into machine code, generating executable files. Conversely, an interpreter executes source code line by line without producing intermediate machine code or executables.

What is an example of a compiler and assembler?

GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) serves as an example of a compiler, translating high-level programming languages like C and C++ into machine code. On the other hand, NASM (Netwide Assembler) exemplifies an assembler, converting assembly language code into machine code.

Conclusion

In this article, we have discussed the difference between compiler and assembler. While both play pivotal roles in translating code into machine-understandable instructions, they operate at different levels of abstraction and produce distinct outputs. Assemblers facilitate the conversion of assembly language into machine code, tailored to specific hardware architectures, whereas compilers translate high-level programming languages into platform-independent executables.

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