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2017-07-25
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C++ Comparison

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Introduction

Java and C++ are similar languages. This topic serves as a quick reference guide for Java and C++ Engineers.

Remarks

Classes Defined within Other Constructs#

Defined within Another Class

C++

Nested Class[ref] (needs a reference to enclosing class)

class Outer {
   class Inner {
      public:
         Inner(Outer* o) :outer(o) {}

      private:
         Outer*  outer;
   };
};

Java

[non-static] Nested Class (aka Inner Class or Member Class)

class OuterClass {
    ...
    class InnerClass {
        ...
    }
}

Statically Defined within Another Class

C++

Static Nested Class

class Outer {
   class Inner {
      ...
   };
};

Java

Static Nested Class (aka Static Member Class)[ref]

class OuterClass {
    ...
    static class StaticNestedClass {
        ...
    }
}

Defined within a Method

(e.g. event handling)

C++

Local Class[ref]

void fun() {
   class Test {
      /* members of Test class */
   };
}

See also Lambda expressions

Java

Local Class[ref]

class Test {
    void f() {
        new Thread(new Runnable() {
            public void run() {
                doSomethingBackgroundish();
            }
        }).start();
    }
}

Overriding vs Overloading

The following Overriding vs Overloading points apply to both C++ and Java:

  • An overridden method has the same name and arguments as its base method.
  • An overloaded method has the same name but different arguments and does not rely on inheritance.
  • Two methods with the same name and arguments but different return type are illegal. See related Stackoverflow questions about "overloading with different return type in Java" - Question 1; Question 2

Polymorphism

Polymorphism is the ability for objects of different classes related by inheritance to respond differently to the same method call. Here's an example:

  • base class Shape with area as an abstract method
  • two derived classes, Square and Circle, implement area methods
  • Shape reference points to Square and area is invoked

In C++, polymorphism is enabled by virtual methods. In Java, methods are virtual by default.

Order of Construction/Destruction

Order of Construction/Destruction

Object Cleanup

In C++, it's a good idea to declare a destructor as virtual to ensure that the subclass' destructor will be called if the base-class pointer is deleted.

In Java, a finalize method is similar a destructor in C++; however, finalizers are unpredictable (they rely on GC). Best practice - use a "close" method to explicitly cleanup.

protected void close() {
    try {
       // do subclass cleanup
    }
    finally {
       isClosed = true;
       super.close();
    }
}

protected void finalize() {
    try {
       if(!isClosed) close();
    }
    finally {
       super.finalize();
    }
}

Abstract Methods & Classes

ConceptC++Java
Abstract Method
declared without an implementation
pure virtual method
virtual void eat(void) = 0;
abstract method
abstract void draw();
Abstract Class
cannot be instantiated
cannot be instantiated; has at least 1 pure virtual method
class AB {public: virtual void f() = 0;};
cannot be instantiated; can have non-abstract methods
abstract class GraphicObject {}
Interface
no instance fields
no "interface" keyword, but can mimic a Java interface with facilities of an abstract classvery similar to abstract class, but 1) supports multiple inheritance; 2) no instance fields
interface TestInterface {}

Accessibility Modifiers

ModifierC++Java
Public - accessible by allno special notesno special notes
Protected - accessible by subclassesalso accessible by friendsalso accessible within same package
Private - accessible by membersalso accessible by friendsno special notes
defaultclass default is private; struct default is publicaccessible by all classes within the same package
otherFriend - a way to grant access to private & protected members without inheritance (see below)

C++ Friend Example

class Node {
  private:
    int key;  Node *next;
    // LinkedList::search() can access "key" & "next"
    friend int LinkedList::search();
};

The Dreaded Diamond Problem

The diamond problem is an ambiguity that arises when two classes B and C inherit from A, and class D inherits from both B and C. If there is a method in A that B and C have overridden, and D does not override it, then which version of the method does D inherit: that of B, or that of C? (from Wikipedia)

The Dreaded Diamond Problem

While C++ has always been susceptible to the diamond problem, Java was susceptible until Java 8. Originally, Java didn't support multiple inheritance, but with the advent of default interface methods, Java classes can not inherit "implementation" from more than one class.

java.lang.Object Class

In Java all classes inherit, either implicitly or explicitly, from the Object class. Any Java reference can be cast to the Object type.

C++ doesn't have a comparable "Object" class.

Java Collections & C++ Containers

Java Collections are symonymous with C++ Containers.

Java Collections Flowchart

C++ Containers Flowchart

Integer Types

BitsMinMaxC++ Type
(on LLP64 or LP64)
Java Type
8-2(8-1) = -1282(8-1)-1 = 127charbyte
802(8)-1 = 255unsigned char--
16-2(16-1) = -32,7682(16-1)-1 = 32,767shortshort
160 (\u0000)2(16)-1 = 65,535 (\uFFFF)unsigned shortchar (unsigned)
32-2(32-1) = -2.147 billion2(32-1)-1 = 2.147 billionintint
3202(32)-1 = 4.295 billionunsigned int--
64-2(64-1)2(16-1)-1long*long long
6402(16)-1unsigned long*
unsigned long long
--

* Win64 API is only 32 bit

Lots more C++ types

Related Examples