Source code and executable code are two fundamental concepts in software development.
Both are essential for creating software, but they serve different purposes and have distinct characteristics.
What Is Source Code?
Programmers use source code to create software by writing instructions that a computer can understand.
This code is a plain text file that can be edited and modified using a text editor or an integrated development environment (IDE).
What Is Executable Code?
Executable code is the machine-readable version of a computer program that is generated by compiling the source code.
It is the final product that runs on a computer or other electronic device. It is a binary file that contains a series of instructions that a computer can execute directly.
Source Code Vs Executable Code
The primary difference between source code vs executable code is that source code is written in a programming language that humans can read and understand, while the other code is a machine language that computers can read and execute directly.
Another key difference is that source code can be modified and edited, while the other code is typically read-only and cannot be modified directly.
The importance of the two codes in software development cannot be overstated.
Source code is essential for creating software as it serves as the foundation for the software development process.
Executable code is equally important as it is the final product that runs on a computer or other electronic device.
Without this code, the software would not be functional, and it would be impossible to execute the program. In other words, this code is what makes the software work.
It is also important to note that there is an intermediate step between the two codes, which is known as object code.
Source code and object code precede the one that is executable.
Object code is the machine-readable code that is generated by compiling the source code. It is an intermediate step in the compilation process, and it is not yet executable.
It must be linked with other object codes and libraries to create an executable file that can be run on a computer.
To better understand the differences between source code and executable code examples, let’s consider an example.
Suppose you want to create a program that calculates the area of a circle. You would write the source code for the program using a programming language such as Python
This source code would contain instructions that tell the computer how to calculate the area of a circle. However, it would not yet be executable.
To create the code that is executable, you would need to compile the source code using a compiler, which would generate an executable file that can be run on a computer.
In conclusion, these codes are essential components of software development.
Understanding the differences between the two codes is crucial for anyone involved in software development, as both are critical components of the software development process.