literal

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literal

1. Maths containing or using coefficients and constants represented by letters: ax2 + b is a literal expression
2. Publishing a misprint or misspelling in a text

literal

(programming)
A constant made available to a process, by inclusion in the executable text. Most modern systems do not allow texts to modify themselves during execution, so literals are indeed constant; their value is written at compile-time and is read-only at run time.

In contrast, values placed in variables or files and accessed by the process via a symbolic name, can be changed during execution. This may be an asset. For example, messages can be given in a choice of languages by placing the translation in a file.

Literals are used when such modification is not desired. The name of the file mentioned above (not its content), or a physical constant such as 3.14159, might be coded as a literal. Literals can be accessed quickly, a potential advantage of their use.

literal

In programming, any data written into the program that remains unchanged when translated into machine language. Examples are values used for calculations as well as text messages displayed on screen. In the following lines of code, the literals are 1 and the value is one. See string literal and numeric literal.

if x = 1print "the value is one"endif