Source Code

In this video we discuss what source code is, interpreters and compilers, and what open source means.

Let's talk about source code: what source code is, where you'll see it, and how the computer makes sense of it.

Source code itself is the actual text document that the programmer creates: they type it up, it's letters, numbers, and symbols.

If you give that to somebody and have them look at that document on their computer, that's not going to help them view their email, it's not going to be a browser, it's just a text document.

The computer has to have a way of interpreting that and making something really powerful run from it.

There are two main ways this is done: either by an interpreter or a compiler.

Every browser has an interpreter, and that's how JavaScript is processed.

Other languages, like C++, are used with a compiler.

Unlike an interpreter, the compiler does all of its work on the programmer's end.

They send out their package, their product, and it's already been compiled, it can already run on a machine.

Javascript, however, and other interpreter languages, you just write the JavaScript and the browser on the user's end has the capability to interpret it so you don't need a compiler.

Everyone has an opinion to which is better (interpreter or compiler), but really each has their pros and cons, and it goes on a case by case basis.

They're better at different things.

Now, let's focus on what open source means.

Free Code Camp is open source, meaning that all of the documentation and source code is open and accessible.

You may be thinking, "so what?", but what's awesome is that if you want to change or improve Free Code Camp, you can write that improvement and maybe get it implemented.

It's a great way for websites and software to grow in a strong and fast way because of the community working together to improve it.

One unwritten rule of contributing to open source projects is that you should generally submit your improvements to also be open source, and by giving that improvement back to the public, you let others use your improvement as well.