Part of the Programming glossary:

In computer programming or text markup, to hardcode (less frequently, hard code ) is to use an explicit rather than a symbolic name for something that is likely to change at a later time. Such coding is sometimes known as hardcode (noun) and it is more difficult to change if it later becomes necessary. In most programming languages, it is possible to equate a symbol with a particular name (which may also represent a number) value. If the name changes, the symbol stays the same and only the equate line of code needs to be changed to reflect the new name. When the program is recompiled, the new name is picked up wherever the symbol occurs in the code. Although there are search-and-replace tools that can change all occurrences of a given name, program code is very unforgiving in case a small error is introduced, and it is safer to have a single place in which such a change can be made. For this reason, hardcoding is usually a practice to be avoided.

Hardcode is also sometimes used in describing more difficult programming languages such as C or C++ rather than such "softcode" languages as Visual Basic .

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

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