Runtime is when a program is running (or being executable). That is, when you start a program running in a computer, it is runtime for that program. In some programming languages, certain reusable programs or "routines" are built and packaged as a "runtime library." These routines can be linked to and used by any program when it is running.

Programmers sometimes distinguish between what gets embedded in a program when it is compiler and what gets embedded or used at runtime. The former is sometimes called "compile time."

For a number of years, technical writers resisted "runtime" as a term, insisting that something like "when a program is run" would obviate the need for a special term. Gradually, the term crept into general usage.

This was last updated in February 2007

Continue Reading About runtime

Dig Deeper on Software Testing and QA Fundamentals

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.