Glossary

Software Library

A software library is a collection of code that can be referenced while developing other executable programs.

What Is a Software Library?

The software library is a term used to describe a collection of programming routines, functions, and other code snippets. Reusability of the code is the main idea behind these collections that prevents people from reinventing the wheel every time they create a new program. There are multiple types of libraries available where some focus on graphics or data manipulation, others specialize in input/output or general-purpose programming tasks.

Each function in a library serves a very specific purpose. For example, the CSS library helps designers use styles without designing and developing all design elements from scratch. JavaScript libraries allow developers to write more compact and efficient code for their scripts.

External Libraries Works Like Rest of the Code

It is a well-documented fact that computers can't understand anything except 1s and 0s. Each line of code written somewhere in any language will eventually run on a machine, and thus it will have to be converted into binary. From a simple hello-world program to a complex application of millions of lines, a flawless execution must address numerous issues like interdependencies and memory allocation. A whole process runs underneath that converts the code of a high-level language (HLL) into an executable binary file. Firstly, the compiler compiles the HLL source code into assembly source code and assigns unique symbols to the functions of external libraries, i.e., printf() in C library. These symbols are known as relocation information. 

In the second phase, the assembler converts the assembly code into binary object files that have separate portions for relocation information. In the last phase, the linker looks for relocation information and fills the gaps with actual machine-readable binary code instead of symbols. Then, it makes an executable file that the computer runs to give the result. After compiling the code, the loader part begins where the memory allocation happens, and the operating system interacts with the program.

Libraries are an essential part of computer programming. Some of them are visible, while others aren't visible to the programmer who is writing the code. Usually, the available ones are code generation, static, and dynamic libraries. Code generation libraries are special tools that read the unique external or internal configurations related to the program and feed that information to the compiler. These are necessary for the compiler. Then there are static or compile-time libraries. During the compilation, the procedure linker searches for relocation information about these static libraries and then converts it into an executable file. After static libraries, there are dynamic libraries or runtime libraries. These libraries only come into play at run time when memory allocation and interaction with the OS happens. These are system libraries, and at a given time, multiple other programs can use them; thus, they are also known as shared libraries.

This process of converting HLL into an executable file and using code generation, static, or dynamic libraries happens in every such industry where software is reshaping people's lives.

Libraries Are Making Crypto Development Easier

In a blockchain-based ecosystem, development isn’t possible without using libraries. Nowadays the majority of new crypto projects are dependent on Ethereum, the largest blockchain-based ecosystem. In this ecosystem, there are libraries like web3.js and ethereum.js that make integration of the front end of dApps a lot easier. Without these libraries, everything will have to be built from scratch which will be a very tedious and costly task.

In Ethereum’s ecosystem, these libraries are developed differently from the other software-based solutions as they are deployed as smart contracts. It preserves the central idea of the reusability of code.