Interpreted and compiled languages

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Programming basics[1]

Compiled Languages

Compiled languages are converted directly into machine code that the processor can execute. As a result, they tend to be faster and more efficient to execute than interpreted languages. They also give the developer more control over hardware aspects, like memory management and CPU usage.

Compiled languages need a “build” step – they need to be manually compiled first. You need to “rebuild” the program every time you need to make a change. In our hummus example, the entire translation is written before it gets to you. If the original author decides that he wants to use a different kind of olive oil, the entire recipe would need to be translated again and resent to you.

Examples of pure compiled languages are C, C++, Erlang, Haskell, Rust, and Go[2]

Interpreted Languages

Interpreters run through a program line by line and execute each command. Here, if the author decides he wants to use a different kind of olive oil, he could scratch the old one out and add the new one. Your translator friend can then convey that change to you as it happens.

Interpreted languages were once significantly slower than compiled languages. But, with the development of just-in-time compilation, that gap is shrinking.

Examples of common interpreted languages are PHP, Ruby, Python, and JavaScript[3]


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References