Compile time is the length of time it takes for a compiler to convert high-level code into low-level code. It can vary from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the language, compiler, and length of the code. Once compile time ends, the program enters runtime, which is how long it takes to run the program.
Most compilers follow at least three steps during the compilation process:
- Syntax analysis — the compiler analyzes the individual language symbols for errors
- Semantic analysis — the compiler analyzes the entire structure of the compiled code
- Code generation — the compiler converts source code to binary or machine code
At every step, the compiler might find compile-time errors, which can be syntax- or semantic-related. It won’t execute the code until you fix them, and most compilers don’t highlight the errors for you. Before you upload the source code, ensure it meets compile-time requirements and doesn’t contain errors.