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What is Source Code?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
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Source code refers to the programming language one uses to write a program. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of programming languages, including C++, Java, and Unix. Often people refer to source code of websites, which means programming conducted in HTML and possibly Java.

In most Internet browsers, one has the option of viewing an Internet page in source code format. This is actually quite helpful for people learning to program in HTML, since they can use it to figure out how to do a table, construct a list, or make a hyperlink. People often use the programming from websites they like to achieve a similar look to a page they are constructing.

While it is fine to use source code to create different things like tables, columns or separations on a website, it is important not to copy graphics that come from other websites, unless they are free to use. This would come under the heading of Internet plagiarism, and could lead to problems for one’s new website.

In HTML, source code can be differentiated from text and pictures, as code instructions will almost always initiate in < > format. If one views the source code of this page, one will note that the above bold word of "views" is surrounded by code. This is because HTML requires this information to present the word in bold format.

When viewing the source code, it may be noted that all hyperlinks are surrounded by specific instructions. Each paragraph begins and ends with <p>, meaning "paragraph." In order to italicize a word, the word is put between <em> and </em>. Often the "/" is taken to mean one is ending a particular set of instructions.

Note that many word processing programs may not be appropriate for writing HTML. Many do not recognize some of the symbols used, like quotation marks. Often one can obtain free programs, which allow the user to write source code that is easy to upload to an Internet site. As well, many website programming programs exist for purchase and may eliminate the need to code.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a EasyTechJunkie contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon321809 — On Feb 24, 2013

I am trying to utilize some information to unlock a Acer Iconia Tablet A500, purchased new. I have email links, yet it won't go online, nor is there any response from screen other than the touch keyboard and I have tried it all. I tried a USB keyboard and got "esc" to change the screen, but it won't respond.

I am searching for drivers as my Asus k501j win8 x64 identifies the android as unknown, then stumbled across "source code" which is also a download from the Acer support site. I have no idea how to use it. I doubt I will learn today, but if anyone has some simple instructions or links, by all means please post them.

By anon166046 — On Apr 07, 2011

I viewed the source code of a facebook user's profile whom I believe has been hacking my account. My name appeared near words like 'switch identity' and 'account'. I do not post to or interact with this user. What does this information tell me?

By BioNerd — On Dec 01, 2010


If source code, HTML, and programming languages, are becoming more "human" as you say, what is to prevent machines from also becoming more human? If Artificial Intelligence is advanced to the point of near-humanity, how can we be sure that we will have a sustainable grasp on our own technologies?

By Leonidas226 — On Nov 29, 2010

Programming languages like C++ are not incredibly difficult to learn, and have been designed to simplify the programming process. The amount of work done to execute a program may seem tedious to some, but it is becoming more and more accessible as computer languages are improved upon and made more "human."

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a EasyTechJunkie contributor, Tricia...
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