I have source code of some software library. It's implemented using "Programming language A". I must implement the same code using "Language B".

After I've read "What does it mean 'to port over'", I know that

‘To port’ is an IT term meaning “to translate (software) into a version for another computer or operating system”

But if I don't change a target platform for the library, can I define my process as "porting"? Can I still say that I "port" the code from "Language A" to "Language B"?

  • Although it's usually used for a translation to another OS/device, I think you could use it this way. Port seems to me to simply be a shortening of "transport" but I could be wrong. – John Clifford Mar 13 '16 at 14:06

The verbs most frequently used when moving code from one programming language to another are convert and translate.

Port usually involves something more extensive than finding counterpart language constructs. The more unlike each other the two languages are, the more viable port becomes.


  • Yep! I just found this: Porting: "The term is not generally applied to the process of adapting software to run with less memory on the same CPU and operating system, nor is it applied to the rewriting of source code in a different language (i.e. language conversion or translation)". Sorry, I don't have enough reputation score to vote for your answer. Thanks a lot! – Ruslan Garipov Mar 13 '16 at 14:31

I have seen the word port used in this context fairly often. I think it should be fine to do so, since anyone with a software background will understand it.

I ported the source code from C++ to Java.

  • Thanks! :-) I know that a programming-aware man will understand it because even I did, and I ain't a native speaker. But is it totally clear usage from the English language viewpoint? – Ruslan Garipov Mar 13 '16 at 14:22
  • I am not a native speaker either, but if a non-programmer knows what a programming language is, then they should be able to understand what port means in context. If they don't know what a programming language is, then it doesn't matter what word you use. :-) Although technically correct, I don't like the word translate used here, because it usually applies to translation across an abstraction (assembly code to machine code, for example). For some reason, convert also sounds odd in context, although I cannot tell why I feel so. – Masked Man Mar 13 '16 at 15:49

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