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Encyclopedia > Source code
An illustration of Java source code with prologue comments indicated in red and inline comments indicated in green. Program code is indicated in blue.
An illustration of Java source code with prologue comments indicated in red and inline comments indicated in green. Program code is indicated in blue.

In computer science, source code (commonly just source or code) is any sequence of statements and/or declarations written in some human-readable computer programming language. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Computer science, or computing science, is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and their implementation and application in computer systems. ... Human-readable refers to a representation of information that can be naturally read by humans. ... A programming language is an artificial language that can be used to control the behavior of a machine, particularly a computer. ...


The source code which constitutes a program is usually held in one or more text files, and may also appear as code snippets printed in books or other media. Program or Programme may refer to: Computer program Radio programming Television program(me), Webcast Program (management) 12-step program Program (The Animatrix), a short film in The Animatrix series Event programme British tabloid form of comic book, called prog in short. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Plain text. ... A Code Snippet is a computer programmers term to refer to small pieces of code that otherwise generally do not function correctly until placed into a larger file of code. ...


A computer program's source code is the collection of files needed to convert from human-readable form to some kind of computer-executable form. The source code may be converted into an executable file by a compiler, or executed on the fly from the human readable form with the aid of an interpreter. Program or Programme may refer to: Computer program Radio programming Television program(me), Webcast Program (management) 12-step program Program (The Animatrix), a short film in The Animatrix series Event programme British tabloid form of comic book, called prog in short. ... This article is about the computing term. ... In relation to computer technology, on the fly describes activities that develop or occur dynamically rather than as the result of something that is statically predefined. ... An interpreter is a computer program that executes other programs. ...


The code base of a programming project is the larger collection of all the source code of all the computer programs which make up the project. Computer programming (often simply programming) is the craft of implementing one or more interrelated abstract algorithms using a particular programming language to produce a concrete computer program. ... A computer program is a collection of instructions that describe a task, or set of tasks, to be carried out by a computer. ...

Contents

Purposes

Source code is primarily either used to produce object code (which can be executed by a computer directly), or to be executed by an interpreter. In computer science, object file or object code is an intermediate representation of code generated by a compiler after it processes a source code file. ...


Source code has a number of other uses. It can be used for the description of software. It can also be used for learning; beginning programmers often find it helpful to review existing source code to learn about programming techniques. It is used as a communication method between experienced programmers, due to its (ideally) concise and unambiguous nature. The sharing of source code between developers is frequently cited as a contributing factor to the maturation of their programming skills. Source code can be an expressive artistic medium; consider, for example, obfuscated code or PerlMonks.Org. In the arts, media (plural of medium) are the materials and techniques used by an artist to produce a work. ... Obfuscate redirects here; for the Discipline from the Vampire: The Masquerade/World of Darkness fictional setting please see Discipline (World of Darkness)#Obfuscate. ...


Source code is a vital component in the activity of porting software to alternative computer platforms. Without the source code for a particular piece of software, portability is generally so difficult as to be impractical and even impossible. Binary translation can be used to run a program without source code, but not to maintain it, as the machine code output of a compiler is extremely difficult to read directly. Decompilation can be used to generate source code where none exists, and with some manual effort, maintainable source code can be produced (VEW04). Programmers frequently adapt source code from one piece of software to use in other projects, a concept which is known as Software reusability. In computer science, porting is the process of adapting software so that an executable program can be created for a computing environment that is different from the one for which it was originally designed (e. ... In computing, binary translation is the emulation of one instruction set by another through translation of code. ... Machine code or machine language is a system of instructions and data directly understandable by a computers central processing unit. ... Decompilation is the process of translating an executable program into high level source code using a decompiler. ... In computer science and software engineering, reusability is the likelihood a segment of structured code can be used again to add new functionalities with slight or no modification. ...


Organization

The source code for a particular piece of software may be contained in a single file or many files. A program's source code is not necessarily all written in the same programming language; for example, it is common for a program to be written primarily in the C programming language, with some portions written in Assembly language for optimization purposes. It is also possible for some components of a piece of software to be written and compiled separately, in an arbitrary programming language, and later integrated into the software using a technique called library linking. In some languages, such as Java, this is essentially how each file is handled; each is compiled separately and linked at runtime. Yet another method is to make the main program an interpreter for a programming language, either designed specifically for the application in question or general-purpose, and then write the bulk of the actual user functionality as macros or other forms of add-ins in this language, an approach taken for example by the GNU Emacs text editor. C is a general-purpose, procedural, imperative computer programming language developed in 1972 by Dennis Ritchie at the Bell Telephone Laboratories for use with the Unix operating system. ... An assembly language is a low-level language used in the writing of computer programs. ... In computer science, a library is a collection of subprograms used to develop software. ... Java is an object-oriented applications programming language developed by Sun Microsystems in the early 1990s. ... Macro (meaning large or wide) is also applied to macroeconomics, and macroscopic or macro lenses. ... GNU Emacs is one of the two most popular versions of Emacs (see also XEmacs). ...


Moderately complex software customarily requires the compilation or assembly of several, sometimes dozens or even hundreds, of different source code files. This complexity is reduced considerably by the inclusion of a Makefile with the source code, which describes the relationships among the source code files, and contains information about how they are to be compiled. The revision control system is another tool frequently used by developers for source code maintenance. make is a computer program that automates the compilation of programs whose files are dependent on each other. ... Revision control (also known as version control, source control or (source) code management (SCM)) is the management of multiple revisions of the same unit of information. ...


Licensing

Main article: software license

Software, and its accompanying source code, typically falls within one of two licensing paradigms: free software and proprietary software. Generally speaking, software is free if the source code is free to use, distribute, modify and study, and proprietary if the source code is kept secret, or is privately owned and restricted. The provisions of the various copyright laws are often used for this purpose, though trade secrecy and patents are also relied upon. Additionally, source code of retail software has licensing that prevents decompilation, reverse engineering, analysis, modification, or circumventing a copy protection. Types of source code protection -- beyond traditional compilation to object code -- include code encryption, code obfuscation or code morphing. A software license is a legal agreement which may take the form of a proprietary or gratuitous license as well as a memorandum of contract between a producer and a user of computer software. ... This article is about free software as defined by the sociopolitical free software movement; for information on software distributed without charge, see freeware. ... Proprietary software is software with restrictions on using, copying and modifying as enforced by the proprietor. ... A trade secret is a formula, practice, process, design, instrument, pattern, or compilation of information used by a business to obtain an advantage over competitors within the same industry or profession. ... A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state to a patentee (the inventor or assignee) for a fixed period of time in exchange for the regulated, public disclosure of certain details of a device, method, process or composition of matter (substance) (known as an invention) which... Commercial software is software that is sold for profit, and represented, until recently, the vast majority of all software used. ... Decompilation is the process of translating an executable program into high level source code using a decompiler. ... Reverse engineering (RE) is the process of taking something (a device, an electrical component, a software program, etc. ... Copy prevention, also known as copy protection, is any technical measure designed to prevent duplication of information. ... This article is about the computing term. ... In computer science, object file or object code is an intermediate representation of code generated by a compiler after it processes a source code file. ... Obfuscated code is source code that is (perhaps intentionally) very hard to read and understand. ... Code morphing is a one of the approaches to protect software applications from reverse engineering, analysis, modifications, and cracking used in obfuscating software. ...


Legal issues in the United States

As of 2003, court systems are in the process of deciding whether source code should be considered a Constitutionally protected form of free speech in the United States. Proponents of the free speech argument claim that because source code conveys information to programmers, is written in a language, and can be used to share humour and other artistic pursuits, it is a protected form of communication. The opposing view is that source code is functional, more than artistic speech, and is thus not protected by First Amendment Rights of the U.S. Constitution. 2003 is a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar, and also: The International Year of Freshwater The European Disability Year Events January events January 1 Luíz Inácio Lula Da Silva becomes the 37th President of Brazil. ... Freedom of speech is the right to freely say what one pleases, as well as the related right to hear what others have stated. ... The first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. ... Page I of the Constitution of the United States of America Page II of the United States Constitution Page III of the United States Constitution Page IV of the United States Constitution The Syng inkstand, with which the Constitution was signed The Constitution of the United States is the supreme...


One of the first court cases regarding the nature of source code as free speech involved University of California mathematics professor Dan Bernstein, who had published on the internet the source code for an encryption program that he created. At the time, encryption algorithms were classified as munitions by the United States government; exporting encryption to other countries was considered an issue of national security, and had to be approved by the State Department. The Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the U.S. government on Bernstein's behalf; the court ruled that source code was free speech, protected by the First Amendment. The University of California (UC) is a public university system in the state of California. ... Euclid, Greek mathematician, 3rd century BC, as imagined by by Raphael in this detail from The School of Athens. ... Daniel Julius Bernstein (sometimes known simply as djb) is a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a mathematician, a cryptologist, and a programmer. ... This article is about algorithms for encryption and decryption. ... Munition is often defined as a synonyn for ammunition. ... Security measures taken to protect the Houses of Parliament in London, England. ... The United States Department of State, often referred to as the State Department, is the Cabinet-level foreign affairs agency of the United States government, equivalent to foreign ministries in other countries. ... EFF Logo The EFF uses the blue ribbon as symbolism for their Free Speech defense. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Chief Justice Associate Justices Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Counties, Cities, and Towns Other countries Politics Portal      The government of the United States of America, established by the U.S. Constitution, is...


In 2000, in a related court case, the issue was again brought under some scrutiny when the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) sued the 'hacker' magazine 2600 and a number of other websites for distributing the source code to DeCSS, an algorithm capable of decrypting scrambled DVD discs. The algorithm was developed to allow people to play legally purchased DVDs on the Linux operating system, which had no DVD software at the time. The US District court decision favored the MPAA; 2600 magazine was prohibited from posting or linking to the source code on their website. This ruling was widely considered a victory for the supporters of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, as it established a legal precedent for the notion that source code is not Constitutionally protected free speech. It was affirmed by the Appeals Court and as of late 2003 is being appealed to the US Supreme Court. 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), originally called the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association of America, is a non-profit trade association based in the United States which was formed to advance the interests of movie studios. ... (Redirected from 2600 The Hacker Quarterly) Fall 2004 (21:3) 2600 Issue 2600: The Hacker Quarterly is a traditional (printed) magazine named for the fact that phreakers in the 1960s found that the transmission of a 2600 Hertz tone (which could be produced perfectly with a plastic toy whistle given... DeCSS is a computer program capable of decrypting content on a DVD video disc encrypted using the Content-Scrambling System (CSS). ... DVD (commonly known as Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) is an optical disc storage media format that can be used for data storage, including movies with high video and sound quality. ... Linux (IPA pronunciation: ) is a Unix-like computer operating system family. ... An operating system (OS) is a set of computer programs that manage the hardware and software resources of a computer. ... District courts are a category of courts which exists in several nations. ... The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law which implements two 1996 WIPO treaties. ... In law, a precedent or authority is a legal case establishing a principle or rule that a court may need to adopt when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts. ... It has been suggested that Mandate (law) be merged into this article or section. ... 2003 is a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar, and also: The International Year of Freshwater The European Disability Year Events January events January 1 Luíz Inácio Lula Da Silva becomes the 37th President of Brazil. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Chief Justice Associate Justices Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Counties, Cities, and Towns Other countries Politics Portal      The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest judicial body in the...


Quality

Main article: Software quality

The way a program is written can have important consequences for its maintainers. Many source code programming style guides, which stress readability and some language-specific conventions are aimed at the maintenance of the software source code, which involves debugging and updating. Other issues also come into considering whether code is well written, such as the logical structuring of the code into manageable sections. When applied to software the adjective quality may apply to source code as seen by software developers, or to applications software as seen by the end-users of the software. ... Programming style (also called coding standards or code convention) is a term that describes conventions for writing source code in a certain programming language. ...


Reference

(VEW04) "Using a Decompiler for Real-World Source Recovery", M Van Emmerik and T Waddington, the Working Conference on Reverse Engineering, Delft, Netherlands, 9th-12th November 2004. Extended version of the paper.


See also

Look up source code in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Source code - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1159 words)
The source code is either converted into an executable file by a compiler for a particular computer architecture, or executed on the fly from the human readable form with the aid of an interpreter.
Source code is either used to produce object code, or to be run by an interpreter.
A program's source code is not necessarily all written in the same programming language; for example, it is common for a program to be written primarily in the C programming language, with some portions written in Assembly language for optimization purposes.
Source code - definition of Source code in Encyclopedia (1040 words)
In modern programming languages, the source code which constitutes a software program is usually in several text files, but the same source code may be printed in a book or recorded on tape (usually without a filesystem).
The source code is either converted into executable by a compiler for a particular computer architecture, or executed from the human readable form with the aid of an interpreter.
Source code can be an expressive artistic medium; consider, for example, obfuscated code or PerlMonks.Org (http://www.perlmonks.org).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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