How do large software systems composed of multiple executables work?

First of all let me clear up some confusion arising from my potential misuse of vocabulary in the question:

By 'executable' I mean a single executable file that is build from sources containing one main function (my background is in C++) and potentially lots of classes and the like. This 'large software system' is a collection of such executables that communicate with each other and work together to achieve some goal.

I'm used to writing simple programs that have a clear entry point and exit conditions. What would be this entry point in such a software system? Which executable starts first and how do I know which one it is? There is no one global main function after all, is it? When are all other executables launched and who calls them? What other files compose such system? How are they bundled together? How is the system loaded on the target machine?

1 answer

  • answered 2018-03-13 20:30 zeus1208

    Question is way too vague, but I'll try and take a stab at it.

    1. Which executable executes first - this would depend on requirements and the developer. If it's a sequential flow, there would definitely be an order of executing executables. For parallel processing, the return codes of each executable would be examined to determine their result.
    2. Who calls other executables. This can be done by calling your initial executable from a shell script, and based on it's return code, deciding the next course of action. Instead of shell script, you can also opt for job schedulers like Tivoli or Cron jobs i believe.
    3. What other files compose the system. Well that would depend on the system being built. This is really extremely vague to even attempt to answer.
    4. How are they bundled. That would depend on the target system. Java apps could be .jar, in windows you can have .exe
    5. How is the system loaded. Again way too vague to answer