September 18, 2020

Dornseif on Source Code and Object Code

Maximillian Dornseif offers another comment on my source code vs. object code posting.

He points out, correctly, that we can still define “source code” and “object code” reasonably. We can get some mileage out of these definitions, as long as we remember that a piece of code might be either source code, or object code, or both, or neither.

Dornseif raises another interesting question, about the boundary between “writing a program” and “using a program”. Consider a typical Excel spreadsheet. To me as a computer scientist, a spreadsheet is a program – it directs the computer to combine some inputs in a certain way to produce some outputs. Yet the typical spreadsheet author probably doesn’t think of what he or she is doing as programming.