Handle is a type of reference used in computer science to point to a data resource, such as a file or memory block. A handle is usually an abstract reference used instead of a memory address, which is more difficult for a user to remember and operate. In object-oriented programming, a handle is a reference to an object, such as a window or file.
Handles are necessary when programming accesses data which is stored in a memory address different than the program itself. For instance, a handle might refer to a memory address where an image or music file is stored. Without a handle, a program would need to find the memory address of the file each time it needs to access it.
The handle’s main advantage is that it can be easily changed. For example, if an image file is moved to another location, its handle can be updated to point to the new location while the code that operates on the file remains unchanged. This makes programming easier and helps avoid errors when jumping between memory locations.
Handles can also help in managing an application’s performance. By using handles instead of memory addresses, an application has fewer possible points of failure when trying to access a large number of objects.