How to read machine code
Source code: What exactly is a source code?
Computers - regardless of whether it's your home PC, modern smartphones or computers from industry and science - work in the binary system: on / off, loaded / not loaded, 1/0. A sequence of states (bits) tells the computer what to do. While in the early days of computer technology commands were actually created with these two states, there has long been a move towards writing applications in a human-readable programming language. That may sound strange at first, because as a layman, you will mostly recognize confused gibberish even in a source code.
"Human readable" is in this context, however, as a counter-term to "machine readable" to understand. While computers only work with numbers, people use words to communicate. Just like foreign languages, you have to learn the various programming languages first before you can use them.
Different programming languages
There are hundreds of different programming languages. One cannot necessarily say that there are better or worse per se, because this must always be seen in the context of the project and depends on the application for which the source code is used. To the most famous programming languages belong:
In order for the computer to understand these languages, however, they must then be translated into machine code.
Compiler & Interpreter
In order for computers to be able to process the source code written by programmers, a translator stand between the two - in the form of an additional program. This auxiliary application can appear either in the form of a compiler or as an interpreter:
- Compiler: This type of application translates (compiles) the source code into code that the processor can understand and execute. This machine code can be saved in the form of an executable file.
- interpreter: An interpreter translates the source code line by line and executes it directly. The compilation process is much faster than with a compiler, but the execution is slower and requires a large amount of memory.
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