What is bytecode? - Definition from WhatIs.com
Part of the Computing fundamentals glossary:

Bytecode is computer object code that is processed by a program, usually referred to as a virtual machine, rather than by the "real" computer machine, the hardware processor. The virtual machine converts each generalized machine instruction into a specific machine instruction or instructions that this computer's processor will understand. Bytecode is the result of compiling source code written in a language that supports this approach. Most computer languages, such as C and C++, require a separate compiler for each computer platform - that is, for each computer operating system and the hardware set of instructions that it is built on. Windows and the Intel line of microprocessor architectures are one platform; Apple and the PowerPC processors are another. Using a language that comes with a virtual machine for each platform, your source language statements need to be compiled only once and will then run on any platform.

The best-known language today that uses the bytecode and virtual machine approach is Java. The LISP language, used in artificial intelligence applications, is an earlier language that compiled bytecode. Other languages that use bytecode or a similar approach include Icon and Prolog.

Rather than being interpreted one instruction at a time, Java bytecode can be recompiled at each particular system platform by a just-in-time compiler. Usually, this will enable the Java program to run faster. In Java, bytecode is contained in a binary file with a .CLASS suffix.

This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • vendor

    - A vendor is an individual or company that sells goods or services to somone else in the economic production chain. Learn about different types of vendors. (WhatIs.com)

  • public sector

    - The public sector is the segment of an economic system that is controlled by government; it contrasts with the private sector, which is run by private citizens. (WhatIs.com)

  • grid computing

    - Grid computing uses small, distributed resources from servers and PCs to solve big problems. But will this architecture survive the cloud era? (SearchDataCenter.com)

Glossaries

  • Computing fundamentals

    - Terms related to computer fundamentals, including computer hardware definitions and words and phrases about software, operating systems, peripherals and troubleshooting.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question. Find an Answer.Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Ask An IT Question

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Ask Question
  • JAVA! Isn't effort saved spent elsewhere?

    JVM or Java Virtual Machine is an in-built mechanism of modern OS. and it is found also in browser or later may configure it. In my case, it is not necessary to write jvm for each platform !

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.