Difference between Compiler and Interpreter

compiler vs interpreter

Computers are very fascinating machines. Everybody wants to understand the working of the computer but most of them think that it’s very difficult to understand the actual working of computers. Many people get confused between compiler vs interpreter because people think that they are two sides of the same coin. If you are also getting confused between compiler vs interpreter, then we have got you covered.

We usually use a high-level language to write a computer program. A language of the highest standard is one that human beings understand. The source code is named. But a machine doesn’t understand the language of a high standard. It understands only the program, called the machine code, written in 0 and 1 in binary. We use a compiler or an interpreter to translate source code into machine code.

Going forward in this article, we will be discussing compiler and interpreter by giving you a detailed outro so that you get to know exactly these two confusing computer programs without having to bang your head on a wall. This article is sub-divided into various parts and we won’t be jumping directly to a conclusion. So, hold your horses and go through each section for having a better picture of the working of computers.

1. Compiler: A Brief Synopsis

A compiler is a program that reads and translates a program into a low-level or computer language and reports errors in the program. It is written in a high-level language. It transforms the full source code into one go or can take several passes to do so, but the user finally gets the compiled code ready to run.

The code is converted into one go, or it can take more passes, but finally, the user gets the ready-to-execute compiled code. With several different inputs, the returned goal code file can be run repeatedly. On any future reruns, the programmer does not need to be there. Compiled languages follow the syntax rule of the language in which it is written.

Nevertheless, the compiler is just a machine that cannot correct mistakes. So if you make an error, the syntax of your program must be changed. It’s not going to compile otherwise.

1.a. Key Takeaways Of ‘Compiler Synopsis’

  • A complete software compiler requires a lot of time to analyze the source code.
  • A code compiled is running quicker.
  • All errors after compilation are shown in a compiler. It won’t compile if your code has errors.
  • Compilers should provide translators, such as quicker performance and less memory footprint, for optimization purposes.

1.b. Working Of Compiler

A compiler takes the source code and translates the source code into a module of the machine language (called an object file). This object file is combined with other object files previously compiled language (especially runtime modules) by a further specialized application, called a linker, to build executable files.

Working Of Compiler

2. Interpreter: A Brief Synopsis

Now let us see what does interpreter mean. An interpreter is a computer program that covers the machine code for each high-level program argument. Source code, precompiled code, and scripts are included. Both the compiler and the interpreter perform the same task as the higher-level programming language.

However, before the program executes, a compiler can translate the code into machine code. When the program is running, the interpreters translate text to machine code. The use of an interpreter is useful when developing a program, where the main part is that a program amendment can be tested fast and not run efficiently. So, this is a brief interpreter definition.

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2.a. Key Takeaways Of ‘Interpreter Synopsis’

  • The interpreter is a program that directly executes programming language instructions.
  • Only one program declaration at a time is translated.
  • Interpreters are smaller than compilers more often than not.
  • Each line of errors one by one is shown by the interpreter.

2.b. Working Of Interpreter

The interpreter offers the same function as the compiler as an alternative to the implementation of a programming language. Similar to a parser, the interpreter performs lexing, parsing, and type control. However, the interpreter processes the syntax tree directly to access terms and does not generate code from the syntax tree.

An interpreter may require the same syntax tree to be processed more than once, which is why interpreting is comparatively slower than running the compiled program.

Working Of Interpreter

3. Types Of Compiler

We need to understand the types of compiler and interpreter for understanding the topic of compiler vs interpreter. Let’s start with the types of the compiler:

  • Cross-Compiler

A compiler that is running on a computer varies from the CPU or operating system it creates.

  • Native Compiler

A compiler generating an output running on the same machine and operating system type as the compiler itself.

  • Bootstrap Compiler

A compiler in the language it is compiling.

  • Decompiler

A decompiler converts code to a higher level from a low-level script.

  • Transpiler

It is a high-level language-translating program. This type of compiler is often called a transcompiler.

  • Language Rewriter

This is typically a program that translates language-free expressions.

  • Bytecode Compiler

A compiler that converts a high-level language into an intermediate plain, byte-code or virtual machine, interpretable language.

  • Just-In-Time Compiler (JIT)

JIT compiler defers up to runtime compilation. It usually works inside a translator. Java bytecode can be interpreted on a virtual machine during operation or compiled into native code during loading or runtime. The compilation method is used in modern JVM implementations, so the output is equal to native code after the initial startup time.

  • AOT Compilation

Compete Ahead-Of-Time(AOT) is the way to compile an intermediate representation, like Java bytecode, before runtime, of a higher-level programming language.

An assembler converts the readable language for the assembly into a computer code. This is known as the assembly mechanism. A disassembler is called the inverse program, which transforms machine code into mounting language.

A language for assembly is a low-level programming language in which the machine code instructions are used.

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4. Types Of Interpreters

Given below is a list of interpreter’s types:

  • Bytecode Interpreter

The movement towards interpreting byte codes and compiling just-in-time blurs the distinction between compilers and interpreters.

  • Threadcode Interpreter

Threaded code interpreters use pointers instead of bytes, as opposed to bytecode. Each statement is a word that indicates a function or sequence of instructions, possibly followed by a parameter. The number and space of memory and address are restricted to different instructions.

  • Abstract Syntax Tree Interpreter

You might have heard the acronym AST of Abstract Syntax Tree because you are a TypeScript developer and you have insight into the TypeScript architecture. AST is an approach for turning the source code into an optimized abstract syntax tree and then running the program according to that tree structure or using it just-in-time to produce native code.

AST maintains the global program framework and interrelationships. This makes the method more efficient analysis in runtime, making AST better intermediate than bytecode representations for just-in-time compilers.

  • Just-In-Time (JIT)

Compiling just-in-time (JIT) is a technique in which native machine code can be compiled to represent the intermediate during runtime.

5. Need Of Interpreters (Even When We’ve Compilers)

The compiler does not meet the software development needs when it comes to the real interpreter need. A compiler is a powerful tool for high-level program development. However, the compiler does include some demerits. It could take hours to compile the source code if the source code is big. This increases the compilation time significantly. This translator comes in handy and can reduce this enormous compilation time.

The interpreters can translate and execute one instruction at a time. When you also edit source code, an interpreter is helpful as well. As if compiling the whole source code takes 5 minutes. You upgrade it on 5 occasions. The total compilation time is then 25 minutes which is substantially high.

Also, if anything goes wrong (either something in the source that we have written or something related to their platform), the user of our code will find out what the problem is much easier than a compiled file. The interpreter makes debugging any issues easier, regardless of who runs our code.

6. Java Interpreter Vs. Compiler

The Java compiler called Javac transforms source code into an intermediate format called Bytecode file. The bytecode file is a platform-independent bytecode file for all forms of OS. The java (java) interpreter translates bytecode to a certain computer code that is OS compatible. This code depends on the OS.

Only the Compiler that translates source code to complex OS machine code was available during C and C++. The OS-dependent machine code ranged from the OS to the OS. The problem was that the programmer had to develop a different compiler, which is too complex, time-consuming, and expensive for the different operating systems.

Sun Microsystem then takes over the whole initiative by creating a unique compiler that generates platform-independent bytecodes, and a JVM (Virtual Java Machine) or interpreter that translates bytecodes to machine code that varies between operating systems. This is all about compiler vs interpreter Java.

7. Python Interpreter Vs Compiler

The source in Python is compiled in a much easier way than bytecodes. These are identical instructions in spirit to the CPU instructions but are implemented by a software called a virtual machine instead of the CPU’s execution. This approach is close to Java’s approach.

Python programs can also be translated into Java byte code for the Javan virtual machine (JVM). With Jython, this can be done. Python can save the compiled byte code into a file ending with a suffix of .pyc if it has write-access to the directory in which the Python program lives.

The software will run anyway if Python does not have write permission. When the program exits, the byte code is produced but discarded. The terms ‘interpreted’ and ‘compiled’ can be flickering. As with most programming adjectives, the jargon is tossed around like black and white, but the truth is far more nuanced and complex.

8. Differences Between Compiler Versus Interpreter

  • Distribution Of Program: Major Difference Between Compiler And Interpreter

You can run it without anything other than installing it after you have a compiled program. This makes delivery easier. The executable works on one particular platform: various systems and different processors need different versions compiled. For instance, a compiled C++ program might work on an x86 processor machine, but not on an ARM chip. Or a Linux system, but a Windows system could work.

You can distribute the same copy to users on various platforms if you choose to translate a program. They would, however, need an interpreter running on their particular platform. The source code or an intermediate type may be distributed. An intuitive approach is this: it’s like the JavaScript evaluation tool. JavaScript works everywhere, but for this platform, you have to run a JavaScript interpreter.

  • Cross-Platform Support Difference Between Interpreter Vs Compiler

This is a technological distinction that has important real implications: cross-platform programs can be easily produced with an interpreted programming language. Most of the time, you just create a program for the interpreter platform. It will be interpreted by the actual platform (e.g. Windows/Linux and x86/ARM) to the required type.

Of course, on each platform, you have to be mindful of certain variations. The directory separator character is a common example. You have to take care of all the small variations between and platform instead when you compile a program. This is partly because compiled languages are mostly of low level (like C++), giving you less access and thus more obligation to the system.

  • Speed Difference Between Compiler And Interpreter

The compiler is both quicker than the interpreter and slower. Many people know that a compiled program, but this is not the whole picture, is much faster than an interpreted one! It takes more time to compile and execute a program than just to interpret. A compiled program is easier to run than an interpreted one.

A compiler makes programs faster. This is because each sentence must be analyzed only once, while an interpreter must still analyze it. Also, the executable code that a compiler generates can be optimized. That’s both because it knows precisely where it will function and because optimizing the code takes time. This time is too slow to interpret.

  • Runtime Speed Of Compiler Versus Interpreter

You create an operating system, and you do a selfie app, one thing. It is one thing. In return for faster functionality, the users will want a non-even-noticeable loss in time. There’s no response in one way: efficiency is more important than the pace in some contexts, and the other is the opposite.
Table Of Differences Of Compiler Versus Interpreter


The major differences between a compiler and an interpreter have been shown. More specifically, we have found that various ideologies have more implications than technological ones. In short, there are societies with such techniques that finally become self-relevant. You can choose all the technologies and not just one if you want speed and ease of production. You will follow your lead by your users.

This is a key aspect, particularly if you want to develop your language for programming. PHP was made easy to use by Rasmus Lerdorf. Compared to alternatives, at least during its development, it had been unbelievably easier to use. But it did not begin as a language but as a library.

Although it has been changed a great deal, its beginnings still suffer. There is good PHP code you can still make, but fewer users than normal. Since all the others come later if you just need anything that works, safety, maintenance, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between compiler and interpreter and assembler?

A compiler is a software that converts programs written in a high level language into machine language. An interpreter is a software that translates a high level language program into machine language while an assembler is a software that converts programs written in assembly language into machine language.

Is compiled or interpreted faster?

Compiled programs are faster than those that must be run through an interpreter.

What is a compiler example?

C, C++, Erlang, and Rust are best examples of compiler.

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