# JIT compiler

JIT compilation, or just-in-time compilation, is an alternative approach to interpretation of code or ahead-of-time compilation. JIT compilation is used in the .NET framework. The CLR code (C#, F#, Visual Basic, etc.) is first compiled into something called Interpreted Language, or IL. This is lower level code that is closer to machine code, but is not platform specific. Rather, at runtime, this code is compiled into machine code for the relevant system.

# IL compilation sample

Simple Hello World Application:

using System;

namespace HelloWorld
{
    class Program
    {
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            Console.WriteLine("Hello World");
        }
    }
}

Equivalent IL Code (which will be JIT compiled)

//  Microsoft (R) .NET Framework IL Disassembler.  Version 4.6.1055.0
//  Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.



// Metadata version: v4.0.30319
.assembly extern mscorlib
{
  .publickeytoken = (B7 7A 5C 56 19 34 E0 89 )                         // .z\V.4..
  .ver 4:0:0:0
}
.assembly HelloWorld
{
  .custom instance void [mscorlib]System.Runtime.CompilerServices.CompilationRelaxationsAttribute::.ctor(int32) = ( 01 00 08 00 00 00 00 00 ) 
  .custom instance void [mscorlib]System.Runtime.CompilerServices.RuntimeCompatibilityAttribute::.ctor() = ( 01 00 01 00 54 02 16 57 72 61 70 4E 6F 6E 45 78   // ....T..WrapNonEx
                                                                                                             63 65 70 74 69 6F 6E 54 68 72 6F 77 73 01 )       // ceptionThrows.

  // --- The following custom attribute is added automatically, do not uncomment -------
  //  .custom instance void [mscorlib]System.Diagnostics.DebuggableAttribute::.ctor(valuetype [mscorlib]System.Diagnostics.DebuggableAttribute/DebuggingModes) = ( 01 00 07 01 00 00 00 00 ) 

  .custom instance void [mscorlib]System.Reflection.AssemblyTitleAttribute::.ctor(string) = ( 01 00 0A 48 65 6C 6C 6F 57 6F 72 6C 64 00 00 )    // ...HelloWorld..
  .custom instance void [mscorlib]System.Reflection.AssemblyDescriptionAttribute::.ctor(string) = ( 01 00 00 00 00 ) 
  .custom instance void [mscorlib]System.Reflection.AssemblyConfigurationAttribute::.ctor(string) = ( 01 00 00 00 00 ) 
  .custom instance void [mscorlib]System.Reflection.AssemblyCompanyAttribute::.ctor(string) = ( 01 00 00 00 00 ) 
  .custom instance void [mscorlib]System.Reflection.AssemblyProductAttribute::.ctor(string) = ( 01 00 0A 48 65 6C 6C 6F 57 6F 72 6C 64 00 00 )    // ...HelloWorld..
  .custom instance void [mscorlib]System.Reflection.AssemblyCopyrightAttribute::.ctor(string) = ( 01 00 12 43 6F 70 79 72 69 67 68 74 20 C2 A9 20   // ...Copyright .. 
                                                                                                  20 32 30 31 37 00 00 )                            //  2017..
  .custom instance void [mscorlib]System.Reflection.AssemblyTrademarkAttribute::.ctor(string) = ( 01 00 00 00 00 ) 
  .custom instance void [mscorlib]System.Runtime.InteropServices.ComVisibleAttribute::.ctor(bool) = ( 01 00 00 00 00 ) 
  .custom instance void [mscorlib]System.Runtime.InteropServices.GuidAttribute::.ctor(string) = ( 01 00 24 33 30 38 62 33 64 38 36 2D 34 31 37 32   // ..$308b3d86-4172
                                                                                                  2D 34 30 32 32 2D 61 66 63 63 2D 33 66 38 65 33   // -4022-afcc-3f8e3
                                                                                                  32 33 33 63 35 62 30 00 00 )                      // 233c5b0..
  .custom instance void [mscorlib]System.Reflection.AssemblyFileVersionAttribute::.ctor(string) = ( 01 00 07 31 2E 30 2E 30 2E 30 00 00 )             // ...1.0.0.0..
  .custom instance void [mscorlib]System.Runtime.Versioning.TargetFrameworkAttribute::.ctor(string) = ( 01 00 1C 2E 4E 45 54 46 72 61 6D 65 77 6F 72 6B   // ....NETFramework
                                                                                                        2C 56 65 72 73 69 6F 6E 3D 76 34 2E 35 2E 32 01   // ,Version=v4.5.2.
                                                                                                        00 54 0E 14 46 72 61 6D 65 77 6F 72 6B 44 69 73   // .T..FrameworkDis
                                                                                                        70 6C 61 79 4E 61 6D 65 14 2E 4E 45 54 20 46 72   // playName..NET Fr
                                                                                                        61 6D 65 77 6F 72 6B 20 34 2E 35 2E 32 )          // amework 4.5.2
  .hash algorithm 0x00008004
  .ver 1:0:0:0
}
.module HelloWorld.exe
// MVID: {2A7E1D59-1272-4B47-85F6-D7E1ED057831}
.imagebase 0x00400000
.file alignment 0x00000200
.stackreserve 0x00100000
.subsystem 0x0003       // WINDOWS_CUI
.corflags 0x00020003    //  ILONLY 32BITPREFERRED
// Image base: 0x0000021C70230000


// =============== CLASS MEMBERS DECLARATION ===================

.class private auto ansi beforefieldinit HelloWorld.Program
       extends [mscorlib]System.Object
{
  .method private hidebysig static void  Main(string[] args) cil managed
  {
    .entrypoint
    // Code size       13 (0xd)
    .maxstack  8
    IL_0000:  nop
    IL_0001:  ldstr      "Hello World"
    IL_0006:  call       void [mscorlib]System.Console::WriteLine(string)
    IL_000b:  nop
    IL_000c:  ret
  } // end of method Program::Main

  .method public hidebysig specialname rtspecialname 
          instance void  .ctor() cil managed
  {
    // Code size       8 (0x8)
    .maxstack  8
    IL_0000:  ldarg.0
    IL_0001:  call       instance void [mscorlib]System.Object::.ctor()
    IL_0006:  nop
    IL_0007:  ret
  } // end of method Program::.ctor

} // end of class HelloWorld.Program

Generated with MS ILDASM tool (IL disassembler)

# Remarks

Why use JIT compilation?

  • Better compatibility: each CLR language needs only one compiler to IL, and this IL can run on any platform on which it can be converted into machine code.
  • Speed: JIT compilation attempts to combine the speed of running ahead-of-time compiled code, and the flexibility of interpretation (can analyze code that will be executed for potential optimizations before compiling)

Wikipedia Page for more information on JIT compilation in general: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-in-time_compilation