Difference between Bytecode and Machine Code

Each computer has its own unique set of instructions, which can only be read and carried out by the machine itself once it has deciphered them. The instructions are saved in the computer as binary bit patterns, which are essentially just long sequences of ones and zeros. Therefore, the only instructions that a specific computer may carry out are those written in the language of the microprocessor it uses. The programme can be saved on a disc and then loaded into the internal memory of the computer. After that, the central processing unit (CPU) will retrieve the instructions one at a time and carry them out in sequence.

In the past, programmers would write their code in the native machine language of the computer's processor. This method was inefficient, as it required a lot of time and money, and the machine language itself is incomprehensible to humans.

"Assembler language" was developed specifically for the purpose of solving issues such as these. It is possible to represent data in this manner using decimal numbers rather than binary ones. However, in order to convert a programme written in assembly language into machine code, a program is necessary. An assembler is the name given to this type of programme.

Assemblers made programs more legible by humans and reduced the likelihood of programming errors, but they were unable to solve the portability problem. To rectify the flaws in the assembler programs, high-level programming languages were developed. Although these languages made programming more efficient, computers were unable torun them because they were written in a higher level of abstraction. Hence, compilers came into existence. For a compiled programme to operate properly on any computer, the programme must first be compiled into a format known as bytecode.

What is Bytecode?

Bytecode is a sort of command that is suited for software translation operation. It is also commonly known as "p-code" due to the portability that it provides. In contrast to human-readable source code, bytecodes are replete with numerical codes, constants, and credentials (typically numeric addresses) that encode the results of parsing and semantic analysis of program object types, scopes, and nesting levels. These results are stored in the bytes themselves. Hence, bytecodes offer a level of efficiency that is noticeably superior to that of direct source code translation.

The most common type of virtual machine is the virtual stack machine, but virtual register machines have also been built. The Bytecode command is provided by the software, so these machines can be as simple or complex as the programmers want them to be. Despite the fact that they frequently have a lot in common with standard hardware instructions, they can still be very complex. Various portions are frequently kept in their own separate files, much like object modules would be, but they are packed dynamically while the program is being run. Bytecode is a type of computer object data that is processed by a virtual machine.

Benefits of Using Bytecode

Utilizing Bytecode offers a number of benefits, some of which include the following −

  • It is possible to accomplish the platform-independent goals with the assistance of Byte Code.

  • The JVM command could be different depending on the system you're using, but the Byte Code can be executed on any device.

  • It enhances the portability and flexibility of Java, which is a reflection of the saying "write once, read everywhere."

What is Machine Code?

The set of rules or orders that are carried out directly by the CPU of a computer is referred to as its "Machine Code." Each command executes a highly specific task on a unit of data stored in a CPU register or memory, such as loading, jumping, or performing an ALU (arithmetic logic unit) action. Examples of these tasks include loading and jumping. A set of such commands make up any program that is normally performed by a CPU.

The most fundamental and hardware-dependent language, machine code is the language used to express a computer program after it has been compiled and built. It is also the language that is used at the lowest level.

Although it is possible to build programs explicitly in numerical Machine Code, doing so manually is not only time-consuming but also increases the likelihood that errors will be made. Manually managing individual bits and manually computing numerical locations and constants can be done. As a consequence of this, it is only employed under particular circumstances in the modern day, such as when significant enhancement or bug fixing is required.

A numerical representation of commands and data is what is known as machine code. It provides its consumers with a number of benefits, including the following:

  • Machine language is especially well suited to machines that are smaller and have less memory.

  • Programming in machine language, which requires less time to execute than programming in other languages, is more efficient than programming in those other languages.

  • These programmes are written in machine language, which acomputer understands directly and does not require any interpretation from a human to understand, hence translation is not required.

Comparison between Bytecode and Machine Code

The following table highlights the major differences between Bytecode and Machine code −

Basis of comparisonBytecodeMachine code
Definition and meaningIn between a machine code and a source code is something called a byte code, which serves as an intermediate code.In its most basic form, it is shorthand for a collection of distinct instructions that a machine can read and comprehend on its own.
Level of CodeIt is an intermediate-level code.It is a low-level code.
Type of InstructionsIt is composed of binary, hexadecimal, and macro instructions such as swapping, adding, and new, among others.It is comprised of directives written in the binary language. Therefore, the instructions are contained within the 0s and 1s that make up the code.
Machine specific featureThe byte code can be executed successfully by virtual machines as well as other types of software. However, it does not seem to be especially directed (directly) at a machine.The machine code is machine-specific in every way.
Generation and implementationThe Byte Code is generated after the source code has been compiled. It cannot, however, be executed directly on a CPU. Its operation is completely reliant on a translator.It can be processed by the CPU because it is a machine language. Because it is in binary format, there is no need for translation or compilation.
CPU UnderstandableA CPU cannot understand it directly.Any CPU can directly understand as well as process this type of code.


Since bytecode is not the machine code for any specific computer, it is portable across different computer architectures. It is comparable to machine code, which must first be interpreted by a runtime system before it can be run on a system.

Bytecode is translated into more granular machine instructions that the processor of the computer is able to comprehend by using the virtual machine.

Machine code is a type of computer programme that can be run directly by the hardware of the computer, without the requirement for any software to be present. Machine code, in contrast to bytecode, which is independent of the platform it is executed on, cannot be executed on any platform even if it uses the same operating system.