In an old book I have, they say that "build" is either a process of converting source code into executable or the actual result - assembly. Is that correct?

Is a build actually the assembly, I mean from terminological point of view.

  • 1
    The result of a build process can indeed be called a build. If you are talking .net, then the result of a build is one or more assemblies, yes. But the word assembly also has a different meaning: A human-readable representation of machine code. Which is NOT the result of a build, although it may be an intermediate step. So you should be clear what sense of "assembly" you are talking about.
    – JacquesB
    Jan 17, 2016 at 16:35

2 Answers 2


No, that statement isn't correct.

When you build a program the following steps happen:

  1. The source files are compiled to object files This takes your source code and turns it into object code. This step turns the source code into machine code.

  2. The object files are linked to produce an executable The linker will come along and link your various object files together, do any static linking it needs to and spit out the completed executable in machine code.

Assembly is a programming language which is not machine readable until it is "assembled" (aka compiled). When assembly is compiled it becomes machine code.

Edit based on Christopher's comment: If this book is specific to .NET then yes, the terminology could be considered correct as .NET executables are referred to as assemblies.

  • Or, assembly could refer to a shared object in .NET. Mar 10, 2013 at 14:38
  • That is a very true point. I read "in an old book I have" and then I realised that .NET is now over 10 years old.
    – Sam
    Mar 10, 2013 at 14:39
  • What about C#, I think there is an assembly=build. Thanks, it is a C# book.
    – John V
    Mar 10, 2013 at 14:42
  • @user970696 In that case then yes, the second part of my answer says that the terminology is correct.
    – Sam
    Mar 10, 2013 at 14:48

If the book says so, then within that book, that is the meaning of the word. Obviously, in other contexts, the result of a build may not be anything usually called “assembly”, so the definition cannot apply there.

On a more general note, I don't find it odd to ask if we still have a backup of last Friday's build, so I'd say the usage of the word for the result of the build process is not entirely non-standard. English is full of words you can use as verbs or nouns, with more or less related meanings.

  • Yeah the word "build" can certainly be used both as a verb, and as a noun to refer to what is produced by the act of "building". Mar 10, 2013 at 20:14

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