Difference Between Compile Time Error and Runtime Error | Compile-Time vs Runtime Errors

By Anjnee Bhatnagar|Updated : September 29th, 2022

The Difference Between Compile-Time Error and Runtime Error is the duration of detecting the error by the compiler in the program. Compile-time and runtime errors are generated when the rules mentioned under each are violated.

Difference Between Compile-Time Error and Runtime Error PDF

In this article, we will approach the difference between compile-time and runtime errors step by step, starting from understanding the meaning of each one individually.

Difference Between Compile-Time Error and Runtime Error

In software development, compile-time errors and runtime errors are programming terms that are used widely. These errors arise in the program either while compilation or run time. The difference between compile-time and runtime errors is essential to the GATE CSE syllabus.

Key Differences Between Compile-Time Error and Runtime Error

Compile-Time Errors

Runtime Errors

The compiler detects them.

The compiler does not detect them.

They hinder the execution or running of the complete code, as the compiler detects the error.

They hinder the complete execution of the code.

It can detect lexical, syntactic, and semantic errors only.

It can detect logical errors in the code, divide by zero, square root of a negative number, etc.

They can be fixed during the development of code.

They can be fixed after the execution of the code.

Compile-Time Error and Runtime Error

When a code is executed on a compiler, it may generate errors, and these errors are categorized into two types: Compile-time errors and Runtime errors. Variations of questions formed using the two concepts can be checked in the GATE previous year's question papers.

Let us understand each type of error in detail.

What is a Compile-Time Error?

The errors occurring due to the programming language's syntax violation are called compile-time errors. The user can fix these errors by making required changes in the source code before compiling it. They are called so because these are generated after processing the source code through the seven phases of the compiler.

There are a variety of compile-time errors that a programmer encounters on a day-to-day basis. Some frequently occurring compile-time errors are missing parenthesis, missing semicolons, using the variable without declaring it, etc.

What is Runtime Error?

The errors occurring at the runtime after the successful compilation are called runtime errors. A compiler cannot detect these errors as the compiler has a limited capacity. A compiler can only detect lexical, syntactic, and semantic errors. This compiler limitation adds to the difference between compile-time and runtime errors.

The runtime errors are difficult to identify by the programmer or compiler. Some runtime errors important for the GATE exam are as follows: logic error, segmentation fault, divide by zero, etc.

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FAQs on Difference Between Compile Time Error and Runtime Error

  • The difference between compile-time errors and runtime errors in terms of fixation is that the compile-time errors can be fixed during the development phase after compilation, while the runtime errors can only be fixed after the execution of the source code.

  • A compiler can only detect three types of errors that are:

    • Lexical errors
    • Syntactic errors
    • Semantic errors

    The major difference between compile-time errors and runtime errors is that a compiler can detect limited types of errors in source code, while runtime errors can be any of the logical errors that a computer cannot handle.

  • Address binding is defined as linking the data to the actual physical memory location. Binding is of two types:

    • Compile-time address binding: Address binding is performed at the compile time. The compiler is responsible for it.
    • Runtime address binding: Address binding is performed at the runtime. An operating system is responsible for performing address binding.
  • No, a compiler cannot detect runtime errors. It can only detect compile-time errors in the source code. A compiler consists of seven phases through which a source code is processed, after which it generates errors like syntax errors or semantic errors.

  • At runtime, all the logical errors are detected. The logical errors cannot be handled by the computer. Therefore, it throws runtime errors at the time of program execution. Logical errors involve the conditions like divide by zero, integer overflow, modulo operation by zero, etc.

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