Source code is the language or string of words, numbers, letters and symbols that a computer programmer uses which is readable by humans but not computers. For instance, when a programmer types a sequence of C programming language statements into Windows Notepad and saves the sequence as a text file, the text file is said to contain the source code.
Most programming statements and instructions that are written by the developers are source codes. They are written in a high-level language and must be transformed into object code or machine language by a compiler before a computer can read or execute the program.
Sometimes, a source code can be machine-generated by programs that convert the source code of one programming language into the source code of another language.
A source code can be created by a text editor, a visual programming tool or an integrated development environment (IDE). In large program development environments, programmers use management systems to help them separate and keep track of different states and levels of source code files.
Purposes of source code
Apart from serving as the foundation for software creation, source code can be used by skilled users to easily customize software installations, if needed.
Access to source code also allows programmers to contribute to open source projects, either through sharing code for learning purposes or by recycling portions of a source code t for other applications.
Programmers can also use source code to share algorithms. Most programmers write source code in word processors or other text-based software, which allows programmers to print out physical copies of their code or save it as document files and share later with other developers who are interested in their project.