Glossary

 

Source File

File containing program instructions in their original form, written in a programming language such as C, C++, or Java. Source code uses common symbols (characters, words and phrases) to represent commands to the computer. C language source files carry .c filename extensions. See Webopedia's definition for more details and links to related information.

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High-level language

A programming language that uses English-like characters, words, and phrases to represent program commands. A low-level language, by contrast, is one which employs symbols and syntax very different from English (or any other "natural" language), for example, 1's and 0's. See Webopedia's definition for more details and links to related information.

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Machine language

The only language computers can understand. Machine language consists entirely of numbers, and is therefore too complex for most people to use directly. Programs are therefore written in a high-level language such as C or Pascal, and then translated into machine language by a compiler. See Webopedia's definition for more details and links to related information.

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Object file

The file type produced by a compiler. Object code is an intermediary form between source code and executable code. Object files carry .obj filename extensions. See Webopedia's definition for more details and links to related information.

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Linker

The program that converts an object file into an executable file. See Webopedia's definition for more details and links to related information.

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Executable file

The final file type produced by the compiling and linking processes. An executable file consists entirely of machine language, and can be accessed and run by the computer for which it was compiled. Executable files carry .exe filename extensions. See Webopedia's definition for more details and links to related information.

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