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App Development
7 minutes read

C++ Vs. JavaScript: Explained

by Jose Gomez
App Development
7 minutes read

The C++ vs. JavaScript debate is one that developers find entertaining, but in reality, these languages have little in common and are used in very different ways. The big thing that both of these languages have in common is that they are very popular. Perhaps this is why developers and those familiar with both languages love to compare and contrast C++ vs. JavaScript. 

Before we begin comparing these two languages, we will provide a brief overview of both so that you can get a better understanding of what each language is before we begin our comparison. 

This will be helpful in understanding the C++ vs. JavaScript debate, and it will give you a frame of reference when we discuss how certain aspects of these languages differ from each other. 

What is C++?

Back in 1979, Bjarne Stroustrup, a computer scientist from Denmark, wanted to create an extension to C language that would allow the programming language to utilize classes. From this original desire, C++ was born, and it has since become one of the most popular, widely used general-purpose programming languages in the world. 

C++ is object-oriented, statically typed, and compiled. C++ was not built for web development, but C++ was built to handle a wide variety of different computing tasks. This programming language has been used in video games and even space probes. C++ is also regularly used to write compilers for other languages, including a lot of the engines that interpret JavaScript. 

In many cases, you can point to the best use cases for a specific programming language, but with C++, this is more difficult because it is general purpose. C++ and many of the other C languages are often used as the backbone for programs that give other languages and technologies the chance to stand out. 

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript was created and released to the world in 1995. It is an interpreted, dynamically typed scripting language that was initially developed to help bring web pages to life with interactive elements and animations. JavaScript does not have a compilation step. It is turned into virtual machine code when a web page or application is loaded. 

Since JavaScript’s initial release, it has become one of the three core technologies of the World Wide Web alongside HTML and CSS. Over 97 percent of websites on the Internet use JavaScript, and all major browsers have a dedicated JavaScript engine to handle the language.

JavaScript was built for the Internet, and modern web design would be completely different without it.  While JavaScript is primarily run in-browser, it can also be used in back-end and mobile app development. 

Before the introduction of Kotlin, JavaScript was Google’s preferred language for native Android app development. While Kotlin is now Google’s preferred language, JavaScript can still be used to develop native Android apps as well as cross-platform apps. 

Comparing C++ and JavaScript

Now that you have some background information on both of these languages, you can see that we are not really comparing equivalent technologies. Still, it can be informative to look at how these two languages differ from one another in key ways, including:

  • Mid-level vs. high-level language 
  • Dynamic vs. static type 
  • Compiled vs. interpreted

Mid-Level vs. High-Level Language 

JavaScript is considered a high-level language, and C++ is considered a mid-level language. What does this mean? High-level languages are considered to more closely resemble human language patterns. Mid-level languages more closely resemble the inhuman nature of binary code, which is represented in 1’s and 0’s. 

On a practical level, this means a few different things. JavaScript code is usually much shorter than C++, and JavaScript can generally accomplish more tasks in fewer lines of code. High-level languages like JavaScript also require less setup than mid-level languages. 

Since JavaScript is one of the core technologies of the World Wide Web, there are a lot of resources and available integrations. While there is a lot of pre-existing C++ code you can use for integration, there is a greater chance that you will have to custom code a solution that fits your project. 

Dynamic vs. Static Type 

C++ is statically typed, while JavaScript is dynamically typed. When coding with a statically typed language, like C++, you need to declare every variable while you are writing your code. On the other hand, JavaScript is dynamically typed, which allows variables to change type at runtime. 

When coding in JavaScript, you don’t have to focus as much on whether something is a string or an integer. This allows developers to code quicker when using JavaScript as compared to a language like C++. 

This, combined with the fact that JavaScript is a high-level language, makes it easier to learn and faster to type than C++. 

Compiled vs. Interpreted 

C++ is a compiled language, which is funny because it is also used as a compiler language too. After you write your C++ code, you need to compile it. Since C++ is a compiled language, it cannot be run until it has been compiled to machine code

JavaScript is an interpreted language. This means at runtime JavaScript is interpreted and compiled to machine code. Developers save compiling time with JavaScript, but at runtime, an interpreter has to compile the code. This means that JavaScript code runs slower than C++ code at execution. 

To be fair, it is okay for JavaScript code to run a bit slower than C++. These languages were designed with very different purposes in mind, and their use cases hardly overlap. C++ was built for executing heavy calculations in a restricted environment. This is great for video games, attempting to develop Artificial Intelligence, and programming satellites and moon landers. JavaScript was developed to create interactive elements on web pages. 

Do the Use Cases for C++ and JavaScript Ever Overlap?

Most of the time, there is not a case where you would be choosing between C++ and JavaScript. However, there are two potential cases where you could find yourself weighing C++ vs. JavaScript. 

The most common overlapping use case is back-end development, and the less common overlap between these languages is game development. 

Using Node.js or Express.js, you can develop the server-side of your website using JavaScript. This is a great option because the front-end of your website will already be written in JavaScript, and it will be easier to troubleshoot and handle integrations. 

Typically, a website’s back-end has high-resource requirements. This means handling thousands or tens of thousands of requests simultaneously. In high-resource back-end environments, using a language like C++ is an advantage because it needs fewer resources to handle requests and is able to work faster. 

In the case of video games, you can make great web browser video games using JavaScript. However, if you’re trying to make the detailed 3D video games that users have come to enjoy so much over the years, JavaScript would be a poor choice. 

Most video games are programmed with C++ because it is adept at handling complex calculations quickly without consuming too much hardware. This is an extremely important advantage for C++, especially in the realm of real-time online gaming. 

Final Thoughts 

Reviewing C++ vs. JavaScript is not really fair since both of these languages have their own purposes and place in the technology sector, but it is interesting to explore. In the few use cases where these languages do overlap, the choice between them is simple to make based on the complexity of your project.

If you need help determining which technology or language is right for your next project, reach out to an app development partner. They will provide you with guidance, industry experience, and technical expertise as you bring your idea to life.

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