Native means original. Ininformation technology, native can refer equally to file formats and software, to programming languages and codes, to compilers and applications.
- A native file format is one that an application uses internally for processing. When editing a program, the original, native file format must first be converted before it can be edited. Files can be edited only in the native file format. Examples of native file formats are: DWG file format is a native data format for AutoCAD CAD software. Waveform Audio File Format(WAV) is a native file format developed by IBM and Microsoft for storing audio data. Photoshop Document( PSD) is another native file format for Adobe's Photoshop for the corresponding image editing program and Design Web Format( DWF) from Autodesk for sending large amounts of data, for exchange via theInternet.
- In the case of software, Native Software is tailored to a specific hardware. Native software supports a specific microprocessor and is only executable through emulation. It is different with machine code, where native machine code is developed for a specific processor. An example of native software is Java Virtual Machine( JVM), which is executable on the respective target platform.
- A native compiler compiles the same technology on which it runs. It uses the same operating system or platform as the software for which it builds the machine language. Developers may recommend different native compiler options for different use cases with programming languages such as Java and C+. In the case of compilation, the native compiler translates the source code into the native code for the processor.
- In the case of apps, there are various forms of execution. Among others, there are also native apps. These are platform-dependent apps that can only run on a specific platform such as Android or another smartphone operating system such as Symbian, Windows Mobile or Moblin. Because native apps involve interaction between the app and the operating system, they can access most of the operating system's features.