Webopedia on Google+Webopedia on TwitterWebopedia on FacebookTech Bytes Blog
Main » TERM » S »

source code

source code

Program instructions in their original form. The word source differentiates code from various other forms that it can have (for example, object code and executable code).

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.







TECH RESOURCES FROM OUR PARTNERS
LATEST ARTICLES
SEO Dictionary

From keyword analysis to backlinks and Google search engine algorithm updates, our search engine optimization glossary lists 85 SEO terms you need... Read More »

Slideshow: History of Microsoft Operating Systems

Microsoft Windows is a family of operating systems for personal computers. In this article we look at the history of Microsoft operating... Read More »

Slideshow: Interesting Facts About Google Search

From Goats to Penguins, a server outage and trillions of searches, our slideshow presents interesting facts about Google and the Google.com... Read More »

STUDY GUIDES
Java Basics, Part 1

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 »