What Is Source Code In Programming?

Source Code is a program code which is a text. In order to create applications and programs they should be coded and this code is called “source code”. Source code may change according to the application features, behavior, and programming language. An application can be created by using different programming languages and source code.

Source code should be created in a specific programming or scripting language because it will run or compile with these language tools.

Programming or Scripting Languages

One of the most important aspects of source code is its programming or scripting language. Source code is developed according to the selected programming or scripting language rules and functions. There are a lot of different programming or scripting languages that are designed for different purposes. Below we will list some programming or scripting languages that are popular amongst developers.

JavaScript is a scripting language used to develop web applications especially on the client-side. JavaScript mainly runs on a web browser but in some cases can be used to develop server-side applications. JavaScript is the most popular programming language.

Python is another scripting or programming language which is used for a different type of applications. Python source can be run easily with the Python interpreter without a compile operation.

Source Code Licensing

Creating source code requires some work and intellectual effort. So after creating a source code the owner of the source code has the right on the source code whatever he/she wants. As software or applications have licensed the source code is also licensed in order to protect the source code development work. There are different type of source code licenses in use but in general source code can be licensed as proprietary and open.

Open Source Code Licensing will use open source and free software licenses like “Apache License 2.0”, “BSD-3-Clause”, “GNU General Public License – GPL”, “MIT License-MIT” etc. These licenses generally permit to read, change, use, and redistribution of the source code of the software. Especially GPL is the most popular license to make the source code open source and popular open-source source codes and projects like Linux Kernel, Git, etc. uses the GPL license.

Proprietary Source Code Licensing is generally used for paid software which is generally designed for enterprise and commercial use. Every software creator has different Proprietary Source Code Licensing but one of the most popular ones is the Microsoft license named “End User License Agreement” or “EULA”.

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Source Code Relation To Binary or Executables

Source code is not the final phase of the application or software development. First the source code is created for software and then it is generally compiled or interpreted into a binary or executable format. The binary format is a format where the libraries and executables are stored as 1 and 0. The executable format is generally a “.exe”, “.msi”, “.out” extension which can be executed as a file in operating systems like Windows, Linux, etc. Also libraries that provide functions to the executable files are created by source code by compiling them. Some programming languages like Python, PHP interpret the source code file in order to run a given script or software.

Source Code Compilation

Source Code Compilation is very important because the given source file is used to create executable files and libraries. Following is a simple C software source code that will be compiled into the binary format or executable file.

/* Hello World program */

#include <stdio.h>

int main()
   printf("Hello World");

   return 0;


This source code can be compiled in Linux by using the gcc command like below. We will provide the option “-o” in order to set the created binary file name which is “helloworld”.

$ gcc -o helloworld main.c

IDE (Integrated Development Environment)

Source code can be created by using different ways. The simplest way to create a source code is using a text editor which can be a GUI editor like Notepad, Notepad++, Gedit, or command-line editor like vim, nano, etc. But using text editors for medium and big sized source projects is very unpractical. Integrated Development Environment or IDE is a software development tool that provides useful tools, usage experience, and GUI for source code development.

IDE (Integrated Development Environment)

Source Code Tracking

Source Code Tracking is important for tracking source code for different versions and development changes. There are different source code tracking tools named “Git”, “SVN” etc. The source code changes are versioned and shared with other developers to develop code as a distributed way.

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