An important step in the journey to execute code is Assembly.
The process of code execution starts with a software developer creating a program in a high-level programming language, such as Python or Java, that was designed to be easily read and understood by humans.
For a computer to execute this program, the code must be simplified into binary. In our humble beginnings, programmers initially coded in binary; then, Assembly was created to make it easier for humans to program.
Assembly is a low-level programming language used to directly translate instructions into the computer’s machine code in a more human-readable way. Similar to machine code, each instruction begins with an opcode and then references memory locations or data types to operate on.
Understanding Assembly is an essential skill on the path to becoming a professional software developer. Studying Assembly allows us to “get under the hood” of our typical programs, making better decisions when it comes to data storage, algorithm optimization, and hardware interactions.
Take a look at the Code Factory image to the right. Inside this factory, code is being broken down into simpler and simpler pieces until nothing but binary exists. Each station performs some sort of optimization to create a smoother and more responsive program for the user.
As programs are produced by the software engineer on their IDE, behind the scenes the code is going through a multi-step process in order to make it readable by the hardware.