Both C# and Java are very popular among software developers. Nevertheless, the statistics show that C# has been less popular than Java in recent years.
Here is the data from the TIOBE index:
And here is the data from the PYPL index:
Does this mean that C# is worse than Java? Absolutely not, it’s not that simple, and here’s why the understanding of this fact matters. Given that companies may sometimes choose a programming language based only on its popularity, they may miss the opportunities that an alternative option can give.
In this article, we compare C# and Java app development to show their strengths and weaknesses to help you understand which one is better for your project.
The Differences Between C# and Java
C# and Java share certain similarities. They are both general-purpose and object-oriented languages that are typed manifestly and statically, and they both have similar curly brace syntax.
Despite these similarities, C# and Java show a number of differences that may affect your choice.
Ease of Use
Some developers would say that Java is one of the easiest programming languages to learn and use, and there is a grain of truth in it. Thanks to its WORA (“Write once, run anywhere”) policy, Java has fewer components, which means that a developer can write code on one system and expect it to run on any other Java-enabled system without any adjustment.
Unlike Java, C# by its nature is strongly connected with Microsoft, and this leads to the fact that developers need to adapt the code every time they want to run it on other systems. On the other hand, C# also has several advantages.
First, thanks to structs (value types) in C#, as opposed to heap objects in Java, it may be easier to build applications with C#. The thing is that structs have access to the processor cache and therefore they can run faster than heap objects. In this way, developers can write less code simply by using pre-made structs.
Also, despite some similarities to Java in terms of syntax, C# has one valuable feature which is called the language integrated query (LINQ). This means that developers don’t have to use the specific syntax of a database if they want to write queries to it.
For instance, developers can translate LINQ queries into the format that an SQL database can understand even if they don’t deeply know SQL. This means that when working with some little-known database, developers don’t have to learn its unique syntax requirements.
However, the opinions of developers regarding the ease of use of both programming languages may vary. It is important to understand one thing – a skilled software developer who deeply knows the specifics and features of C# and Java can effectively use both of them for software development.
In terms of performance, both languages have some nuances. Although many developers consider Java very fast and powerful, the C# language can also generate high-performance code when it is optimized.
Be that as it may, when conducting tests it turns out that both languages are at approximately the same level still slightly overtaking each other in different aspects. While Java may perform better regarding CPU utilization, C# always runs great on Linux, and so on.
In general, for clients this means only one thing – it’s important to work with software developers who know the performance specifics of both languages. Experienced developers can choose the relevant language depending on the type of product, operating system, and hardware they are going to use.
At first glance, Java may be considered a winner in terms of the accessibility of different tools and frameworks.
Indeed, Java has a large open-sourced ecosystem, so developers can get a huge array of third-party libraries and frameworks for free. Also, the Java community constantly improves tools and creates new ones, therefore Java is very promising regarding flexibility.
On the other hand, C# may seem a bit rigid because it is used mainly with the Mono platform and the .NET framework.
Nevertheless, both Java and .NET support a large number of third-party reusable components, libraries, and frameworks. For instance, Java supports such libraries as Jsoup, SWT, Jackson, while .NET supports ALGLIB, Meta.Numerics, and AForge.NET.
This means that an expert software developer will always find relevant tools and find a way to use the potential of both C# and Java to the maximum.
Should Companies Always Prefer Java Because of Its Popularity?
Given all of the above, one cannot say that one programming language is much stronger than its competitor, therefore, companies may have difficulty deciding on what language to choose. Also, Java and C# may be used in a wide variety of cases since they are both general-purpose languages.
For instance, Java is good for creating mobile, desktop, and web applications, as well as embedded systems. Besides that, it may be a good option for companies that need to build complex web-based apps or deal with huge amounts of data. Java may also be used to create social networks, search engines, or apps for an open-sourced ecosystem.
C# is also a good choice for mobile app development, still, this language may be particularly great for the development of games and apps for Microsoft platforms. Among other things, the C# language is often used for the development of VR-based projects.
To make the right choice, developers and clients should analyze the specifics of the project and the client’s business requirements. Based on this information, it will be much easier to make the right decision.