Compiler vs. Interpreter

Main Difference

The compiler and interpreter both translates the higher level language programs, the difference lies that a compiler compiles the source code into an executable machine code whereas an interpreter interprets each instruction and executes it without producing any machine/object code. The compiler work is a onetime go, once a program is compiled; it can be saved for a later time execution whereas interpreter has to interpret every time, the program runs. Object code is generated in case of compiler whereas no object code is produced in interpreter; it only produces an intermediate code. Compiler processes the program on the whole but an interpreter processes it instruction by instruction. In compiler, program execution is fast and in case of interpreter it’s slower because statement by statement interpretation and execution is time consuming. In compiler, debugging process is difficult as compared to the debugging in an interpreter. Compiler does not require source code at run time but in case of interpreter complete source code file is required to execute a program. Compiler requires more memory because the machine code generated is quite large but in case of interpreter, no extra memory is needed. In compilers, the errors in a program are displayed after the complete source code is analyzed but in case of interpreter, errors are displayed for every line interpreted. The compiled code is executed by the computer hardware in case of compilers whereas in interpreters, the intermediate code is processed by another program. In programming scenario, the compiler checks the program’s syntax but interpreters verify the keywords of a program. In compilers there is a scope of code optimization and interpreters allow the modification of code at run time. Both of these are commonly in use by programmers and both possess their own specifications and advantages.

Compiler vs. Interpreter — Is There a Difference?
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Difference Between Compiler and Interpreter

Compiler vs. Interpreter

Compiler processes the whole program; interpreter interprets code line by line.

Compiler vs. Interpreter

Compiler produces a binary machine code; interpreter generates an intermediate code.

Compiler vs. Interpreter

Compiler machine code can be saved and reused once compiled; interpreter has to interpret source code every time.

Compiler vs. Interpreter

Compilers examines the validity of code syntax; interpreters checks for the keywords.

Compiler vs. Interpreter

In compiler, program execution is fast; in interpreter program execution is slow.

Compiler vs. Interpreter

Debugging is complicated in compilers; debugging is easy in interpreters.

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Compiler vs. Interpreter

Compilers display errors after checking complete source code; interpreters display errors of each instruction in code in the specified sequence.

Compiler vs. Interpreter

Compiler’s machine code is further processed by hardware; interpreter’s intermediate code is processed by another specialized program.

Compiler vs. Interpreter

Compilers do not require source code file on the time of execution; interpreters need source code file for run time execution.

Compiler vs. Interpreter

In compilers, execution of program is done after compilation stage; interpreters directly execute the program without any compilation.

Compiler vs. Interpreter

Compiler uses more memory; interpreter requires less memory.

Compilernoun

One who compiles.

a compiler of poetry anthologiesmy favourite crossword compiler
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Interpreternoun

(translation studies) One who listens to a speaker in one language and relates that utterance to the audience in a different language. Contrasted with translator.

A Japanese man who is tried before a German court is assisted by an interpreter in making oral statements.

Compilernoun

(compilation) A computer program which transforms source code into object code.

Interpreternoun

(figuratively) One who explains something, such as an art exhibit. One who does heritage interpretation.

Compilernoun

a person who compiles (or writes for) encyclopedias

Interpreternoun

(computing) A program which executes another program written in a programming language other than machine code.

Programs written in the BASIC language are usually run through an interpreter, though some can be compiled.

Compilernoun

(computer science) a program that decodes instructions written in a higher order language and produces an assembly language program

Interpreternoun

someone who mediates between speakers of different languages

Interpreternoun

someone who uses art to represent something;

his paintings reveal a sensitive interpreter of natureshe was famous as an interpreter of Shakespearean roles

Interpreternoun

an advocate who represents someone else's policy or purpose;

the meeting was attended by spokespersons for all the major organs of government

Interpreternoun

(computer science) a program that translates and executes source language statements one line at a time

Comparison Chart

InterpreterCompiler
Interpreter takes single instruction as input.Compiler takes entire program as input.
Object Code
No Intermediate Object Code is generated in Interpreter.Intermediate Object Code is produced in Compiler
Control Statements
A sluggish execution of Conditional Control Statement in Interpreter.Conditional Control Statements are executed quickly in Compiler
Conversion
Higher level program is converted into lower level program every time.Program does not need to get compiled every time in Compiler.

Definition of Compiler

A compiler is a specialized program that processes the source code written in some higher level language into computer understandable machine code. This machine code is actually in binary language that a processor understands and executes. To write a source code, the programmer writes the program in a language like C, C++ or Pascal using some programming editor. This program is then executed using a compiler that is appropriate for the language in which the source code is written. A compiler’s input is a complete program; it first analyzes it and then processes it. It performs a number of analysis on the source code given as an input, the lexical and syntactical analysis. After performing both these steps the final task of compiler is to generate the machine code. The output of this compilation is the object code and is executable. The program is compiled once and do not need to be compiled every time the program runs.

Definition of Interpreter

An interpreter is a program that performs the statement by statement (line by line) translation of the program source code written in some higher level language. An interpreter, when given a program it takes its one line, interprets it and then executes it. Interpreter generates an intermediate code after interpreting source code and therefore executes it. There is no compilation stage and no machine code is generated. This is how interpreter translates and runs the whole program line by line. It is preferred when immediate instruction by instruction execution is required. They are useful especially when code testing is done. Every time, when a program is to make run, the interpreter interprets it the same way.

Conclusion

Computer architecture and understanding terms associated to it can be a troublesome task and these two terms above are similar ones which have various differences between them but always seem similar to each other. This article has, therefore, looks to explain the differences between them to help people create a clear understanding.