This is meant as a glossary of terms that might be encountered when trying to learn how to program computers and other devices in general, that’s why it is part of the core rulebook volume of the How To Program Anything series. Below is a growing list of terms along with links, where applicable, to where you can find more information.
- Compile Time
- When a program is being compiled a lot of different steps can happen. These steps are commonly referred to as occurring during “compile time”. So, any decisions or algorithms employed while the compiler is putting together and outputting the object files for a program, happen at compile time. Compile time is, in short then, the time during which a program is being compiled.
- A library is a set of, presumably compiled, code that is meant to be used by the main program. It could accomplish any number of tasks, including input/output or drawing graphics. Usually, programs are linked against various libraries using a linker, such as C programs with the C Standard Library. Many programmers create their own libraries for many purposes, as libraries are forms of re-usable code.
- The linker pieces together multiple object files (full of object code, usually output from a compiler) into a final executable that the computer/device can “run”. It takes object code (see object code entry) and fills in all the blanks and various other things to form a final machine code file that can be executed by a processor. See What Is A Linker?
- Object Code
- These are the file(s) that are output from a compiler (see the compilation diagram in Interpretation Vs. Compilation). They are meant as maps for a linker (see What Is A Linker?) to piece together into a final executable or library. An object file basically corresponds a symbol or identifier with its generated machine code. Compilers usually output these files.
- Run Time
- As opposed to compile time, run time is the time period when a program is being executed and carried out by a computer/device processor. Any decisions, such as dynamic linking, or anything that happens while the program is running is said to occur at run time.
- Source Code
- This is the program code, as I refer to it in my article Interpretation Versus Compilation, that the programmer writes. These are the files that are comprised of the actual program written in the actual programming language, such as Python or C. They are meant to be humanly understandable, and eventually input into either a compiler or interpreter.
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