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Python vs. C++: Let’s Compare

Python VS C++: Let’s Compare

Comparing Python vs C++

The debate of Python vs. C++ is an intriguing topic since both programming languages are very different in terms of their syntax, simplicity, use, and overall approach to programming.

C++ is a general-purpose programming language with its roots in the C language. Even though Python is also a general-purpose, it is a high-level language, meaning that Python code is easy-to-read and understand.

Here is the question that beginners are mostly interested in: is Python easier than C++? Python is much more beginner-friendly, while C++ is a more complicated, low-level language. C++ has more syntax rules and other programming conventions, while Python aims to imitate the regular English language.

When it comes to their use cases, Python is the leading language for machine learning and data analysis, and C++ is the best option for game development and large systems.

Python

Created back in 1991 by a man named Guido van Rossum, Python is a general-purpose programming language that stresses readability as its leading feature.

From the early days of development, Python was intended to be as simple to use as possible. Simplicity is actually what it’s known for – Python utilizes a plentiful amount of whitespace to make its code easily readable, thus providing a pleasant and simple learning experience.

When discussing Python vs. C++ from this point of view, C++ has a more complex syntax. For instance, all C-like languages use curly brackets and semicolons, while Python depends on the indentation.

Another important feature of Python is that it is an interpreted language, meaning that the Python code is not converted to machine-readable at runtime. Even though the use of Python circulates around the easy syntax aspect, Python is involved in some high-importance tasks:

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Uses of Python

  • Machine learning (ML) with Python improves many industries such as insurance, retail, banking, aerospace, and business services. ML is an excellent option for finding insights in a specific field and making predictions.
  • Most of the data-analysts choose Python as their main programming language. It helps to handle huge amounts of data in the most cost-effective way. Python also manages data, analyzes statistical information, improves data visualization, and makes predictions in specific fields.
  • Python is also an active member of the backend web development. For instance, Django is one of the frameworks that will help you to use Python in web development. It is possible to create a website by using raw Python, but that is rare.
  • You cannot use Python code in frontend development. However, some tools can help you transpile Python code to JavaScript (which runs on the browser). A more detailed comparison of JavaScript and Python is in this tutorial.

C++

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C++ is a general-purpose language usually involved in the development of large and complicated systems. This language is the most portable out of the whole circle of programming languages.

When comparing Python vs. C++, Python follows a rule of “write once, run anywhere,” which means that one code will work on all operating systems. However, the C++ code needs to compile on each OS before it can execute.

The biggest difference in the discussion of C++ vs. Python is that the C++ source code needs to become machine code. Python follows a different tactic as it is interpreted. However, the interpretation of code is usually slower than running code directly on the hardware.

Where is C++ used?

Let’s take a look at classic use cases of C++:

    • C++ is closer to the hardware. Therefore, C++ produces most of the embedded systems around. By embedded systems, we mean smartwatches, medical machines, IoT sensors, etc.
    • C++ plays a part in the development of applications such as servers and microcontroller programs.
    • C++ is the leading language for 3D, multiplayer, or other types of game development. It is powerful enough to create such elaborate games as CounterStrike, Doom, and Red Dead Redemption. For instance, even the framework Unity is written in C++ even though its users apply C#.

 

Which should you learn: Python vs. C++

Starting to discuss Python vs. C++ in terms of syntax can begin with a simple statement: C++ rules and principles are much more complicated than Python. Why is that? Take a look at how a basic C++ code snippet looks:
#include
#include
using namespace std;
int main() {
string name;
cin >> name;
cout << "Good evening, " << name << endl;
return 0;
}

And here is an example of Python code:
name = input()
print("Good evening, " + name)

Main differences

The following list consists of C++ vs. Python in terms of syntax and general rules of programming with these languages:

  • C++ code needs curly brackets and semicolons to work. Python offers a more friendly approach as it abandons such programming rules. It mainly depends on the indentation of code. This feature refers to the fact that each level of indentation creates the structure of code.
  • Instead of using a semicolon, Python treats the end of the line as the end of the statement. If you need your statement to continue for several lines, you should use the backslash (\) sign. In C++, you need to use a semicolon to indicate the end of the statement.
  • Boolean expressions are different in Python and C++. C++ returns either false or true based on numeric values. For instance, everything labeled as 0 is false, and other numeric values are true. Python has other possibilities as well. For example, none and false constants are false, just as empty sequences or collections.

person at a laptop

  • Variables in C++ need to have a type such as a float or an int because this language is statically-typed. Dynamic typing is a feature of Python, meaning that you do not need to indicate the type of the object. Python offers a lot of flexibility, which can lead to using variables in not appropriate contexts.
  • Single and multiple inheritance works in both Python in C++.
  • One important aspect of Python vs. C++ is memory management. Python does not let you handle memory directly. Instead, it offers automatic memory management, referred to as a garbage collector. C++ does not have such a feature, and all memory management happens manually.
  • Python dictionary vs. C++ map refers to a simple difference between the terminology of these languages. In C++, a map is a container storing values indexed by a key. A dictionary in Python is the same, but more flexible. Why? Because the keys and values do not have to be the same type.

One good thing is that learning Python for C++ programmers should be quite easy. Python follows simple conventions that are not too difficult to master in a considerably short time. If you are looking for a place to start learning Python, take a look at this course.

However, learning C++ for Python programmers is different since C++ is more complex, requires more contemplation and research.

Integration of C++ and Python

Developers often combine C++ modules with Python to improve Python and compensate for its less advantageous features. Additionally, calling C++ from Python leads to low-level capabilities.

To fix Python’s performance issues, you might use accelerator modules of C++. Therefore, code written in C++ will reach a higher performance level. Overall, using C++ and Python together for your projects means combining simplicity and speed.

To embed Python in C++, you need to create a C++ program, compile it, and link your program. Visual Studio is necessary for embedding Python. Other useful programs include CPython, PyBind11.

Comparing the performance of C++ and Python

blurred image symbolizing speed

Comparing Python vs. C++ speed reveals which executes faster and creates more time-efficient programs. One thing to note that you need to compile C++ and interpret Python. The interpretation of code is always slower than the compilation. Additionally, since C++ indicates the variable type, it won’t signal type errors during runtime.

Overall, in terms of performance, C++ is a clear winner when compared to Python.

Python vs. C++: game development

Python helps to create games, but it is more of a beginners’ choice. Beginners that start developing games with Python will learn the basic logic and principles of creating games.

However, the main issue for using Python for games is the performance issue. It is too slow to create fast but intense parts of the game. This speed issue does not mean you can’t use Python in combination with other languages. For instance, Python frequently achieves the artificial intelligence feature in games.

Returning to Python vs. C++ in game development, C++ is much better for creating hard-core graphics and heavy games.

Conclusions

Comparing C++ vs. Python leads to one conclusion: Python is better for beginners in terms of its easy-to-read code and simple syntax. Additionally, Python is a good option for web development (backend), while C++ is not very popular in web development of any kind.

Python is also a leading language for data analysis and machine learning. While it is possible to use C++ for machine learning purposes as well, it is not a good option. In terms of simplicity, Python is much easier to use and has a great support system when it comes to AI and ML frameworks. Learn more about modules of Python in this tutorial.

C++ wins the race when it comes to game development. Yes, Python can create simple games that will help you understand the basic logic and steps of producing a game. However, for more sophisticated game development, C++ is an unstoppable leader.

Performance of C++ and Python also comes to an end with this conclusion: C++ is much faster than Python. After all, Python is an interpreted language, and it cannot be a match for a compiled language such as C++.

The good news is that you can get the best of both worlds by combining C++ and Python code. Therefore, some speed-critical parts of your project can use C++ instead of Python.

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