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Difference Between EXE and DLL

mouse-computerEXE vs DLL

The terms EXE and DLL are very common in programming. When coding, you can either export your final project to either a DLL or an EXE. The term EXE is a shortened version of the word executable as it identifies the file as a program. On the other hand, DLL stands for Dynamic Link Library, which commonly contains functions and procedures that can be used by other programs.

In the basest application package, you would find at least a single EXE file that may or may not be accompanied with one or more DLL files. An EXE file contains the entry point or the part in the code where the operating system is supposed to begin the execution of the application. DLL files do not have this entry point and cannot be executed on their own.

The most major advantage of DLL files is in its reusability. A DLL file can be used in other applications as long as the coder knows the names and parameters of the functions and procedures in the DLL file. Because of this capability, DLL files are ideal for distributing device drivers. The DLL would facilitate the communication between the hardware and the application that wishes to use it. The application would not need to know the intricacies of accessing the hardware just as long as it is capable of calling the functions on the DLL.

Launching an EXE would mean creating a process for it to run on and a memory space. This is necessary in order for the program to run properly. Since a DLL is not launched by itself and is called by another application, it does not have its own memory space and process. It simply shares the process and memory space of the application that is calling it. Because of this, a DLL might have limited access to resources as it might be taken up by the application itself or by other DLLs.

Summary:
1.EXE is an extension used for executable files while DLL is the extension for a dynamic link library.
2.An EXE file can be run independently while a DLL is used by other applications.
3.An EXE file defines an entry point while a DLL does not.
4.A DLL file can be reused by other applications while an EXE cannot.
5.A DLL would share the same process and memory space of the calling application while an EXE creates its separate process and memory space.


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