When you write a program you are typing in code. You might be simply typing code into a basic text editor or into a commercial IDE (Integrated Development Editor) such as Borland C++ Builder or Microsoft Visual C++. But you will not be distributing what you are typing to end-users. What do you distribute to them? First of all, what you type is the source code. It is not an executable program. Remember that the source code is simply all the programming commands that you write. The process of taking your source code and creating an executable is called compiling. The purpose of a compiler (whether it’s a command line compiler, or one built into some commercial IDE) is to translate the specific programming language code you wrote into standard machine instructions that the computer can understand and run. That code is in a binary data file (1’s and 0’s) that the machine can understand and execute (thus, the term executable).
The specifics about how you compile a program depend on the compiler you are using. Commercially available development kits such as C++ Builder and Visual C++ usually have a button to press, or a drop-down menu to select. Command line compilers require you to type in compilation instructions at the command line. The specifics for using the free Borland C++ compiler used in the examples in this book are given in Appendix D.