In computer science, source code is any collection of computer instructions (possibly with comments) written using some human-readable computer language, usually as text. The source code of a program is specially designed to facilitate the work of computer programmers, who specify the actions to be performed by a computer mostly by writing source code. The source code is automatically translated at some point to machine code that the computer can directly read and execute. An interpreter translates to machine code and executes it on the fly when the program is run, while a compiler translates the program in advance to machine code that it stores as executable files; these can then be executed as a separate step.
Most computer applications are distributed in a form that includes executable files, but not their source code. If the source code were included, it would be useful to a user, programmer, or system administrator, who may wish to modify the program or understand how it works.
The source code which constitutes a program is usually held in one or more text files stored on a computer's hard disk; usually these files are carefully arranged into a directory tree, known as a source tree. Source code can also be stored in a database (as is common for stored procedures) or elsewhere.
Source code also appears in books and other media; often in the form of small code snippets, but occasionally complete code bases; a well-known case is the source code of PGP.
The notion of source code may also be taken more broadly, to include machine code and notations in graphical languages, neither of which are textual in nature. An example from an article presented on the annual IEEE conference on Source Code Analysis and Manipulation:
For the purpose of clarity ‘source code’ is taken to mean any fully executable description of a software system. It is therefore so construed as to include machine code, very high level languages and executable graphical representations of systems.
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.
It has become common practice to maintain code bases in version control systems.
Other articles related to "source code, source, sources, code":
... LastPass Password Manager is closed source, though many of the extensions can be run in a non-binary mode where the source is available, but LastPass maintains all rights ... that theoretically the integrity of the software could be verified without making it open source, and mentioned that the developers may be open to the future possibility ...
... allows other, differently named projects to be forked from the Micropolis source code ... Improvements to the open source code base that merits EA's approval may be incorporated into the official "OLPC SimCity" source code, to be distributed with the OLPC under the trademarked name OLPC ...
... compilation and directory separation of sources ... embedding preprocessor instructions in the source code to conditionally select the source subtree compatible with a given platform ... MSYS and Cygwin may help build the cross-platform code in a Unix-like environment even on Microsoft Windows ...
... conventions, are aimed at the maintenance of the software source code, which involves debugging and updating ... the ability to compile the program for multiple architectures, often make code readability a less important consideration, since code quality depends entirely on its purpose ...
... The Code Project Open License (CPOL) is a software license published by The Code Project, a community site for software developers ... Its main points subject to the terms of the license are Source Code and Executable Files can be used in commercial applications Source Code and Executable Files can be redistributed and Source Code ... The Code Project has a comparison of the CPOL to open-source licenses on their site ...
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