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The term build may refer to the process by which source code is converted into a stand-alone form that can be run on a computer or to the form itself. One of the most important steps of a software build is the compilation process, where source code files are converted into executable code. The process of building software is usually managed by a build tool. Builds are created when a certain point in development has been reached or the code has been deemed ready for implementation, either for testing or outright release.
A build is also known as a software build or code build.
The term build can have a slightly different meaning depending on whether it is used as a noun or a verb. A developer might “do a build”, which means to run the build process, but then might also refer to the end result as “build number 175”, to differentiate it when talking to his colleagues.
A build can be simple or extremely complex. A single developer will most often build right from his desktop within his integrated development environment, while a large team will generally have professionals who do nothing but supervise the build process. In the latter case, extensive build tools are used that can also aid in testing, metrics and other functions.
A build is usually a version of software in pre-release format that is used only by the software development company. When the build is finished, it is often stored as a single package and is marketed under a version number, although it is often possible to find the build number if you dig deep enough. Ideally, or in theory, incremental and later versions of builds have more features and fewer bugs, although this doesn’t always work in practice.