In assembly language, we used an assembler program to convert the mnemonics to machine code. We usually refer to the conversions being from source code to object code but it means the same thing. In Fortran, or any high-level language, we use a compiler to produce the machine code. The compiler will also carry out the useful extras like error and syntax checking that we met with the assemblers. Compilers and assemblers are both software – that is, they are programs designed to do a specific job. If we were using a 68000 microprocessor, and wished to program it using a particular language, say Fortran, then we would have to purchase a ‘Fortran 90 to 68000’ compiler. It would do just this job and nothing else. We could not adapt it in any way to accept a different high-level language or ‘target’ it at a different processor

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