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Difference Between Compiler and Assembler

The difference between compiler and assembler is that a compiler is used to convert high-level programming language code into machine language code. On the other hand, an assembler converts assembly level language code into machine language code.

Both these terms are relevant in context to program execution. The compiler considers the entire code and one and converts it at the same time. Whereas, the assembler, converts the code line by line.  

In this article, we bring to you a detailed comparison between a compiler and an assembler. Candidates can also know more about the various High-Level Computer Languages at the linked article. 

Compiler vs Assembler - Difference Between Compiler and Assembler

This difference between compiler and assembler will help UPSC aspirants prepare for the upcoming IAS exam, as questions based on Computer knowledge are frequently asked in the Science and Technology Section of the examination. 

Difference Between Compiler and Assembler PDF:-Download PDF Here

To strengthen their Computer Knowledge, candidates can refer to the following links and learn more about the related terms, applications, and software, etc.

Computer Shortcut Keys Types of Computer
Important Computer-related Terms Introduction to Operating System
Components of Computer Microsoft Office

Compiler vs Assembler 

Both, compiler and assembler are used to convert one type of language coding into another and this is mainly the only similarity between the two. However, the two are different from each other in various other aspects. 

Given below is a tabulated comparison between a Compiler and Assembler for the reference of candidates:

Difference Between Compiler and Assembler
Compiler Assembler
Function: Its main function is to convert high level programming code into machine language code Function: The main function of an assembler is that converts assembly level code into machine level code
The whole code is converted into machine language at the same time It does not convert the entire code at a single time
There are 7 phases of the compiler:

  1. Lexical Analyser
  2. Syntax analyser
  3. Semantic analyser
  4. Intermediate code generated
  5. Code optimiser
  6. Code generator
  7. Error handler
There are only two phases of an assembler:

  1. First Phase
  2. Second Phase
It inputs source code It inputs assembly level code
The output is a mnemonic version of machine code The output is Binary code
Different types of compiler include:

  1. Cross-compiler
  2. Bootstrap compiler
  3. Decompiler
  4. Source-to-source compiler
Different types of assembler include:

  1. One pass assemblers
  2. Load-and-go assemblers

C++ is an example of compiled language and GNU is an example of assembler. The above-mentioned detailed comparison clearly enables one to analyse the difference between the two.

As discussed earlier, computers are a part of the Science and Technology section of the Civil Services Exam syllabus. Thus, candidates can get notes regarding the same at the UPSC Notes: Science & Technology page. 

Also, apart from the difference between compiler and assembler, there are various other computer-based articles, which can candidates can refer to simply their concepts and understanding:

Aspirants can also get 100+ difference between articles based on the different sections and syllabus of UPSC exam, at the linked article. 

Difference Between Compiler and Assembler PDF:-Download PDF Here

Frequently Asked Questions about Assembler and Complier


What is function of assembler and compiler?

The purpose of an assembler is to translate assembly language into object code. Whereas compilers and interpreters generate many machine code instructions for each high-level instruction, assemblers create one machine code instruction for each assembly instruction.

How does a compiler work?

Compilers are utility programs that take your code and transform it into executable machine code files. Next, the compiler works through the preprocessed code line by line translating each line into the appropriate machine language instruction.

To get a general exam pattern and to know the detailed UPSC Syllabus, candidates can visit the linked article. 

Also, to get the latest exam updates, preparation tips and study notes at BYJU’S.

Other Related Links
Fundamentals of Computer Microsoft Windows
Basics of Cloud Computing OSI Model – Open Systems Interconnection
Hardware and Software Computer Abbreviations


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