Program is a common computer term that can be used as both a noun and a verb. A program (noun) is executable software that runs on a computer. It is similar to a script, but is often much larger in size and does not require a scripting engine to run. Instead, a program consists of compiled code that can run directly from the computer's operating system.
Examples of programs include Web browsers, word processors, e-mail clients, video games, and system utilities. These programs are often called applications, which can be used synonymously with "software programs." On Windows, programs typically have an .EXE file extension, while Macintosh programs have an .APP extension.
When "program" is used as verb, it means to create a software program. For example, programmers create programs by writing code that instructs the computer what to do. The functions and commands written by the programmer are collectively referred to as source code. When the code is finished, the source code file or files are compiled into an executable program.
Updated: January 31, 2008