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Software library

Software library definition

Software library refers to a collection of pre-written code, procedures, or scripts a programmer can use instead of coding everything from scratch. While many software libraries are open source and can be used or modified without restriction, exact details of the code use depends on the license.

See also: dynamic library

Types of software libraries:

  • Standard libraries. Most programming languages come with a standard library, which provides basic functions and classes that are considered essential for that language. For example, Python has a standard library that includes modules for file handling, regular expressions, and math operations.
  • Third-party libraries. Many programming languages also have a vast ecosystem of third-party libraries to address a wide range of needs such as specialized functionalities, web frameworks, and GUIs.
  • Personal libraries. Some developers create personal libraries to reuse code across projects. For example, they may create a library to address a specific need, standardize operations within their team, or to share it with others.
  • Platform-specific libraries. These are libraries that were designed specifically for a certain platform. For example, they might tap into unique features of those platforms, offering functionalities that are not available elsewhere.
  • Cross-language libraries. Some of the most popular libraries have versions in multiple languages. For example, the SQLite database library has interfaces available in various programming languages.