Definition – What is Bytecode?

The term Bytecode refers to a type of code for execution of a programming language generated by a software program called virtual machine or VM. Bytecode is neither compiled code nor general interpreted code. It can be considered as special interpreted code. Because Bytecode is not generated by a compiler or interpreter. For example, the Java programming language converts the code to Bytecode as an intermediate phase of executing. In Java programming language, Bytecode is generated by the Java Virtual Machine or JVM.

Bytecode is very portable that means it allows to run bytecode almost every device, hardware, and operating system without any latency. Because Bytecode is generated by a Virtual Machine. So it does not matter where the code is running. The same VM can be run on a variety of OS. And the VM translates the code again to machine code for final execution. That means, the bytecode cannot be executed directly. It works as an intermediate medium of the code execution process.

Source codes are written in Java primarily converted into bytecode in general. That’s why Java code is very portable for every device and hardware. The motto of java, “Write once, run anywhere” became possible for bytecode implementation.

Explanation – Bytecode

Unlike compiled and interpreted code, Bytecode does not need to be re-generated by the VM on a different platform. Because, the Bytecode is not platform specific, only the VM is platform specific. The process of conversion of byte code to machine code follows the JIT compilation process or real-time compilation. JIT means just in time compilation.

Languages like PHP, Java, Python, Tcl, etc support Bytecode conversion functionality that made the languages portable, handy and programmer-friendly.