What Is Bytecode?

Bytecode (also called portable code or p-code[citation needed]) is a form of instruction set designed for efficient execution by a software interpreter.

The name bytecode stems from instruction sets that have one-byte opcodes followed by optional parameters. It’s not readable by a human programmer like source code, but it’s also not readable by hardware, like machine code.

A compiler within a programming environment translates the source code into bytecode, which is then executed by a virtual machine or interpreter or compiled further.

Why need bytecode?

Modern software often needs to be processed on many different devices, operating systems, and platforms. To do this efficiently, bytecode offers a simplified, consolidated version of the source code and presents it in a numeric format. This makes it lightweight and portable, unlike machine or binary code, which are often specific to hardware (e.g., a specific CPU). All the system needs is the right VM, and the code can be executed.

Bytecode in python

Python is slower as compared to other programming languages, but the process of converting the Python code to the bytecode makes it faster to access each time after the code is interpreted once. This bytecode is saved in the file named the same as the source file but with a different extension named “pyc”.

Steps for interpretation of Python source code:

  • Source code: Python Code
  • Compiler: Enters inside the compiler to generate the bytecode
  • Bytecode: Intermediate code or low-level code
  • Virtual Machine: Here the code gets the support from the library modules.
Python 3.10.10 (tags/v3.10.10:aad5f6a, Feb  7 2023, 17:20:36) [MSC v.1929 64 bit (AMD64)] on win32
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import dis
>>> def f(): print('Hello World!')
>>> dis.dis(f)
  1           0 LOAD_GLOBAL              0 (print)
              2 LOAD_CONST               1 ('Hello World!')
              4 CALL_FUNCTION            1
              6 POP_TOP
              8 LOAD_CONST               0 (None)
             10 RETURN_VALUE


https://prepinsta.com/python/what-is-bytecode-in-python/#:~:text=Bytecode is the low-level,Python Virtual Machine[PVM].

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