Headline

A program that transforms source code into object code

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Let's assume that we want to compile the Language:Java variation on the Hello world program.

That is, the source code of the program is available as a file "HelloWorld.java".

Compilation can be issued in different ways. For instance, an IDE may take care of it automatically.

For clarity, we perform compilation at the command line:

$ ls
HelloWorld.java
$ javac HelloWorld.java 
$ ls
HelloWorld.class	HelloWorld.java

Thus, the compiler produced the object code, in fact, bytecode, in the file "HelloWorld.class".

The byte code can be executed as follows:

$ java HelloWorld
Hello, world!

The byte code appears to be interpreted, i.e., "java" appears to be an interpreter for byte code. In fact, "java" performs just-in-time compilation so that byte code is translated on the fly to machine code, which is then eventually executed (so to say interpreted) by the actual machine.

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