Dynamic Link Libraries – Concept

DLL is a library of functions that are compiled, linked, and stored separately from the processes that use them.  A DLL provides a way to share functions among programs that run concurrently.

To better understand the importance of DLLs, consider the familiar 4GL sprintf$() function that formats a string.  A copy of the sprintf$ function must be included in each program that uses it.  Eventually, the number of programs containing copies of the sprintf$ function will become quite large, resulting in a large amount of memory use.  Because the sprintf$ functions in all these programs are identical, you can set it up so that these programs share this function.

With DLLs, once a session has used a particular function, that function is removed from memory, ensuring that only one copy of the function is in memory while being used.  DLLs have another advantage because they also reduce the size of objects to a minimum.

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