Initially, a programmer writes a program in a particular programming language. This form of the program is called the source program, or more generically, source code. To execute the program, however, the programmer must translate it into machine language, the language that the computer understands. The first step of this translation process is usually performed by a utility called a compiler. The compiler translates the source code into a form called object code. Sometimes the object code is the same as machine code; sometimes it needs to be translated into machine language by a utility called an assembler.
Source code is the only format that is readable by humans. When you purchase programs, you usually receive them in their machine-language format. This means that you can execute them directly, but you cannot read or modify them. Some softwaremanufacturers provide source code, but this is useful only if you are an experienced programmer.
Stay up to date on the latest developments in Internet terminology with a free weekly newsletter from Webopedia. Join to subscribe now.
From cute electronic toys to VR gaming, here are 5 hot gifts to give to your special tech enthusiast this holiday season. Read More »What's Hot in Tech: AI Tops the List
Like everything in technology, AI touches on so many other trends, like self-driving cars and automation, and Big Data and the Internet of Things... Read More »DevOp's Role in Application Security
As organizations rush to release new applications, security appears to be getting short shrift. DevSecOps is a new approach that holds promise. Read More »
Java is a high-level programming language. This guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of syntax, variables, data types and... Read More »Java Basics, Part 2
This second Study Guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of operators, modifiers and control Structures. Read More »The 7 Layers of the OSI Model
The Open System Interconnection (OSI) model defines a networking framework to implement protocols in seven layers. Use this handy guide to compare... Read More »