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When talking about IDE software or about what a programming language allows you to do or not at the source level, I often use the word IntelliSense, which has a precise meaning in the Microsoft world, but is inappropriate when talking to people who don't have to be familiar with Visual Studio.

In this case, what is the appropriate term to use?

I usually use the term "auto-completion", but it doesn't always work. In fact, IntelliSense includes auto-completion, but it also provides documentation and hints.

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auto-completing, context sensitive drop-downy awesomeness. –  Steve Evers Jul 15 '11 at 16:48
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"useless IDE fluff"? Is that an accurate term from a non-MS perspective? –  S.Lott Jul 15 '11 at 16:54
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@s.lott useless really? you walk around with the entire framework(s) + project(s) methods/attributes meta data all in your head? if you do I'm impressed... –  Darknight Jul 15 '11 at 17:34
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@Darknight: Good point. I'm forced to look all of that up using reference material. Autocompletion, however, I've never really gotten used to. It seems like useless IDE fluff. But what do I know? –  S.Lott Jul 15 '11 at 18:48
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Contextual code completion and reference system. –  music2myear Jul 15 '11 at 19:09

6 Answers 6

up vote 28 down vote accepted

We have always called it "Auto Code Completion" or just "Code Completion". I have heard the term "code hinting" used as well.

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What about "code assist" or "content assist"? –  Ilari Kajaste Jul 17 '13 at 8:27

See this article, where it starts off referring to IntelliSense as an "implementation of autocompletion".

I'm afraid you will have to be more descriptive when speaking with someone about IntelliSense that is not familiar with it or Visual Studio.

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I agree with the part about Visual Studio. I used Eclipse for java for 6 years before I touched Visual studio and had no clue what my fellow developers where talking about when they said IntelliSense. When I asked what they meant, they looked at me like I was an inbred!! –  jworrin Jul 15 '11 at 16:54
    
Read the discussion that article. Recurring theme is its an advert for MS..... –  mattnz Jul 17 '13 at 8:28

"Intelligent editor"?

I had a co-worker once who had a good phrase, academic and non-Microsofty, but I can't remember it, unless it was "intelligent editor" (and I think it was).

Is that enough characters, StackExchange?

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When talking about IDE software or about what a programming language allows to do or not at source level, I often use the word IntelliSense, which has a precise meaning in Microsoft world, but is inappropriate when talking to people who don't have to be familiar with Visual Studio.

In this case, what is the appropriate term to use?

There isn't one. Microsoft made that particular feature which includes all of the above, and named it IntelliSense.

I usually use the term "auto-completion", but it doesn't always work. In fact, IntelliSense includes auto-completion, but also provides documentation and hints.

Those who know of it, call it like that. Those who don't, are not familiar with it and therefore do not need a name for it. To them it is described as other answers here hinted already: "auto-completion with code hinting", or "auto-completion with documentation and hints" and so on.

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Microsoft invented it, huh? ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freeabs_all.jsp?arnumber=2023 –  JohnL4 Jul 15 '11 at 17:47
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@MainMa: Microsoft may have invented the word, but not the concept. I may be being a bit unfair, but I have a really strong reaction to people buying into Microsoft's lie that they're innovators, when, in fact, most of what they're doing is a copy of something else. Anyway, I didn't do any downvoting. –  JohnL4 Jul 15 '11 at 19:41
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@JohnL4 - John, most things in history are not named after their real inventors. However, the names we remember are the names we associate with some concepts. Now, I don't care who really invented it - MS is the one who is known for it, who made it popular and made it useful. Maybe some poor eskimo on greenland thought of it first. It doesn't really matter. Ideas are cheap. If you wish edit the post to better suit your meaning. If not, also fine by me. Either way ... –  Rook Jul 15 '11 at 21:09
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Microsoft is known for it because they are Microsoft. No other reason. They did not popularize it other than with the crowd that only uses Microsoft tools. (FYI, I was the downvoter, not JohnL4) –  alternative Jul 16 '11 at 0:43
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@mathepic - Microsoft was not always "Microsoft". In my early days it was IBM - MS was nowhere in sight. They worked to become what they are now - they took ideas and made them work. So it was not exactly granted to them. As far as MS folks comment goes, I don't understand. Of course they popularized it with the crowd that uses their products. With who should've they popularized it? With the professional basketball players? –  Rook Jul 16 '11 at 2:13

Once upon a time it was also called a "picklist" a list of values you pick from to paste into your code.

I don't hear the term used much any more.

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I think the widget is called a picklist (and still is in some circles), but the concept of associating it with a piece of syntax was never called a picklist. The term picklist is very generic. Nobody ever said "our editor has a picklist feature" to mean that it has code completion. –  Bryan Oakley Jul 17 '13 at 12:54

It is also called "content assist" in Eclipse.

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protected by MainMa Jul 17 '13 at 8:27

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