Object Code


Object code is a type of output obtained after compiling a program’s source code. It’s generally a sequence of statements or instructions in a computer language that’s not directly executable by the computer but must be converted into machine code by a linker. This code is often used for programming microcontrollers, ROM, or other hardware-level programming.


The phonetics of the keyword ‘Object Code’ is: /ˈɒbdʒɛkt koʊd/

Key Takeaways

<ol> <li>Object code is a compiled or assembled version of programming code that a computer can understand and execute. It is produced by a compiler from the respective source code.</li> <li>Unlike source code, object code is typically in binary format, making it non-readable by humans. This feature can provide an added layer of security as it becomes difficult for anyone to reverse-engineer the code easily.</li> <li>Another significant aspect of object code is that it is directly executable by the machine when linked to create an executable program. This makes it essential in the software development process, enabling the functioning of any computer program.</li></ol>


Object code is crucial in the field of technology because it serves as an intermediary link in the development of software or computer programs. It is the outcome of source code that has been translated by a compiler. Programmers typically write in high-level languages that are human-readable, and these are the source codes. However, machines cannot directly understand these high-level languages. Therefore, these source codes are translated into object code, a version of the source code that a computer can run or execute. Without it, the translation process from a programmer’s ideation to a functioning software program would be hampered, making it a critical element in software development.


Object code is a vital element within the field of computer programming and plays a critical role in converting human-readable software instructions into a format that a computer can directly act upon. This compilation into an executable format empowers computers to perform the complex tasks commanded by the software. When a programmer writes a software application in a high level programming language such as Python, or C++, the code that they write isn’t directly understood by the computer’s hardware. This is where object code comes in.When the programmer writes the source code in a high-level language, compilers or interpreters will then translate these instructions into the object code. Object code is typically in Binary or Hexadecimal format, which can be easily executed by the computer’s processor. It’s essentially like a middle-man that translates human language into machine language to facilitate understanding and task execution. It serves as a critical link in the chain of command for software applications, facilitating the operational expression of written code into action-dependent instruction sets that a computer’s hardware can execute.


1. Video Games: In gaming technology, object code would represent the translated source code into machine code that the gaming console or computer can run. The game developers primarily work in a high-level language like C++, but eventually, this source code is translated to binary machine code, which is the object code that the particular gaming console can execute.2. Smartphone Apps: The applications (apps) that you run on smartphones (like iOS or Android devices) are also examples of object code. App developers write code in the source language which is then compiled into machine-readable object code that is executable on your device.3. Industrial Automation Systems: In various industries, for controlling machinery or production lines, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are used. The code written for these controllers, often in Ladder Logic or Structured Text, is compiled into object code that the PLCs can read and execute to perform various functions.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

**Q1: What is Object Code?**A1: Object code is a collection of instructions that a computer can understand and execute, generated after the source code written by a programmer is compiled. It is not directly understandable by humans, and usually needs to be converted to machine code before it can be run by a computer.**Q2: How is Object Code created?**A2: Object code is created by compiling source code written in a programming language. A compiler transforms the human-readable source code into object code, suitable for machine understanding.**Q3: Can I modify the Object Code?**A3: Technically yes, it is possible to modify object code, but it is extremely difficult and not typically done due to its complexity. Usually modifications are made in the source code and then recompiled into object code.**Q4: Do all programming languages generate Object Code?**A4: Not all languages generate object code. Interpreted languages such as Python, for example, do not produce object code – instead the source code is directly interpreted. However, most compiled languages like C, C++ and Java generate object code as an intermediate step.**Q5: What is the difference between Object Code and Machine Code?**A5: Object code is a part of the larger process of creating machine code. Object code can contain symbolic references and requires linking before it can be executed, while machine code is the final, executable output that the processor of a computer can understand.**Q6: Who can access the Object Code?**A6: Typically, programmers and software developers can access object code when they are writing or compiling code. However, end-users of software applications do not interact with or see the object code. **Q7: Why is Object Code important?**A7: Object code is an important concept in the software development process as it serves as a bridge between the human-understandable source code and machine-understandable machine code. This makes it a key component of many programming languages.

Related Tech Terms

  • Source Code
  • Compiler
  • Linker
  • Executable File
  • Assembly Language

Sources for More Information

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