Questions about the objective meaning or common understanding of words and concepts that programmers encounter

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

7
votes
3answers
721 views

Microsoft Terminology: .NET C++ vs. traditional C++

I've recently been working with a team that's using both .NET C++ and pre-.NET C++. I fully understand the technical differences between the two technologies. However, I sometimes feel like I'm ...
7
votes
3answers
590 views

What is the difference between a stock-hardware and a micro-coded machine in “A Critique of Common Lisp”?

I was reading this article: A Critique of Common Lisp and finding it hard to make out the precise definition of "stock-hardware machine" and its difference with "micro-coded" machines. I tried to ...
7
votes
4answers
863 views

Is “Code Smell” still a useful metaphor, or has misuse of the term subverted its meaning? [closed]

I've come across some comments and answers on Programmers.SE that decry the use of the phrase "Code Smell" and I've been wondering what the reasoning is for those who dislike it. I first encountered ...
7
votes
5answers
473 views

Is there such a thing as feature bloat?

I have come across the expression software/feature bloat, but is this a real thing or should we rather be talking about things like performance problems, memory and disk footprint, user experience and ...
7
votes
8answers
6k views

What is a “wrapper” program?

Where I work, employees use a third-party desktop program for their clients. This program saves data to a flat file. My colleague wants to write a Java program that uploads that flat file to a remote ...
7
votes
4answers
572 views

“Pythonic” equivalent term for code written in modern C++ style? [closed]

There's a lot of good idioms promoted in modern C++. These include RAII and elegant use of boost or STL or a std::algorithm to solve a given problem. Just like you can write C in any language, you ...
7
votes
3answers
325 views

What is the name of the functional argument in fold

In the higher order function fold/reduce what is the name, if any, of the functional argument? I am working on a monadic tabular processing library where rows are folded to produce simple analyses ...
7
votes
2answers
227 views

When we talk about 'a closure' do we refer to a single variable, or do we refer to all 'closed' variables?

Let's take the following (JavaScript) code that returns a function that closes over variables x and y to illustrate: function test() { var x = Math.random(); var y = Math.random(); var f = ...
7
votes
1answer
818 views

Are “wrapper” and “shim” synonymous?

Are the words "wrapper" and "shim" more or less synonymous, or is there a distinction, perhaps connotative?
7
votes
2answers
21k views

What are the differences between functional, operational and technical requirements?

I have done tasks based on Java, but my seniors assigned me to collect requirements for creating a globalized bug tracking tool. I have read many types of requirements from Wikipedia and the ...
7
votes
6answers
350 views

Is there a term for quasi-open source proprietary software?

Say a company wants to keep development of new features of a piece of software internal, but wants to make the source code for previous versions public, up to and including existing public features, ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

Is INT_MIN-1 an underflow or overflow?

I seem to remember that I was reading that underflow means you have a too small magnitude that cannot be presented anymore in a type overflow means you have a too large magnitude that cannot be ...
7
votes
4answers
13k views

What is the difference between a software process model and software engineering methods (methodology)?

I'm an academic guy, who is now venturing into the software engineering world, puzzled by the fact that many terms seem to overlap each other. I'm reading some books and cannot quite ...
7
votes
3answers
734 views

Did concept of ViewModel exist before MVVM?

Today I was having a discussion with a colleague that ViewModel is a general concept and existed before MVVM pattern. I believe ViewModel term is used anytime you create a class with Model like ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Problem with understanding “seam” word

I'm reading "Dependency Injection in .NET" of Mark Seemann (it's fantastic, and must have) and author often uses word "SEAM", but I can't understand what does it means? Here is an example of using ...
7
votes
5answers
346 views

Uncomfortable terminology

I couldn't imagine using terminology like "code smell", scrum "chickens", "pigs" at my workplace. These types of terms just wouldn't fit in to my environment. My co-workers would look at me, and tell ...
7
votes
2answers
566 views

Who decided on the terminology downcasting and upcasting?

As far as I know, the terminology comes from how the inheritance hierarchy is traditionally displayed, with the extending types at the bottom, and the parent types at the top. This is a bit ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is the code section called a text section?

The section of an executable that contains code is sometimes called the .text section. In segmented memory architectures, a segment mapped as code is sometimes called a text segment. The unix error ...
7
votes
1answer
209 views

Need help with naming (marshaling interface calls) [closed]

This question was reopened on "English Language & Usage": http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/53683/synonyms-for-multiplexing-and-demultiplexing/ This question is related to something ...
6
votes
10answers
419 views

What do I call people who extend my class in base class documentation?

Been calling them "implementers", but it seems weird to me. /// <summary> /// Implementers should implement this. Derp /// </summary> protected abstract void InternalExecute(); A point ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Who was the first software engineer?

It's fairly well known who the first programmer was but who was or were the first software engineer(s)? By software engineer I mean someone who uses formalized specifications and methods to deliver ...
6
votes
5answers
10k views

Is there any difference between pointers and references? [duplicate]

References and pointers do the same thing as I know. Is there any difference between them? If there is no difference, why we call them reference not pointer?
6
votes
11answers
527 views

What should I call the process of converting an object to a string?

We are having a game of 'semantic football' in the office over this matter: I am writing a method for an object which will represent the object as a string. That string should be such that when typed ...
6
votes
9answers
4k views

What is exactly the meaning of “portability”?

I know very well that java is a portable language..and it is the byte-code that makes it portable.. However I've studied also that C is a portable language. "The programs written in C are portable ...
6
votes
7answers
1k views

Is there an opposite for the term “Backporting”?

As I understand, the term "Backporting" is used to describe a fix which is applied in a future version which is also ported to a previous version. Wikipedia definition is as follows: Backporting ...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

Distinction between API and frontend-backend

I'm trying to write a "standard" business web site. By "standard", I mean this site runs the usual HTML5, CSS and Javascript for the front-end, a back-end (to process stuff), and runs MySQL for the ...
6
votes
1answer
727 views

Origin of the programming language term “boxing”? [closed]

What was the first programming environment (probably language) to use the words "boxing" and "unboxing" to indicate encapsulating a primitive type in some kind of wrapper to allow it to be used in ...
6
votes
4answers
928 views

Why is an array of characters called a String in Object Oriented languages? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Etymology of “String” I was talking to my non-technical wife about my workday and she was confused as to why I was talking about strings. In her mind, a ...
6
votes
2answers
244 views

In open source jargon, who is a “committer”?

In open source jargon, is a "committer" someone who creates a commit that gets accepted into a project, or is a "committer" a gatekeeper who decides what commits/patches are or aren't accepted into ...
6
votes
2answers
593 views

Why “OOP” and not simply “Object Programming”?

Why do we say "Object-oriented programming" and not simply "Object programming"? Why do we speak of orientation in just this case, and not "Functionally-oriented programming" and so?
6
votes
4answers
2k views

What's the difference between a “developer” and a “developer-analyst”? [closed]

At larger companies there seems to be a distinction between the two positions. How exactly do they differ?
6
votes
1answer
290 views

Term for a Class with Multiple Interfaces

Say I have a class that implements multiple interfaces. I pass the same instance around using a different interface, depending on what the consumer is interested in. I am trying to remember what this ...
6
votes
2answers
203 views

Is there a difference between the terms “Open Source” and “Open Source Software”?

Until today, I have always used the terms open source and open source software interchangeably. But then I read Phil Haack's blog post in which he suggests that the two terms are not necessarily ...
6
votes
4answers
4k views

What to call pure JavaScript standalone (web)apps for which I've not written any server side code? [closed]

I've been writing a few tools as standalone webapps for which I have written no server side code and it strikes me that I'm not sure what people call such things. I like them because they can be ...
6
votes
4answers
342 views

Why does “charset” really mean “encoding” in common usage?

Something that has long confused me is that so much software uses the terms "charset" and "encoding" as synonyms. When people refer to a unicode "encoding", they always mean a ruleset for ...
6
votes
6answers
3k views

What is the difference between an engineer and a product manager?

It seems nowadays all the develop teams have both software engineers and product manager. I am a newbie to the software industry and I wonder what is the difference? Is it necessary for a Product ...
6
votes
2answers
368 views

What is the difference between Optionals and Nullable type

Swift has Optionals. C# has Nullable types. As far as I can tell both serve same purpose, besides value of some type they store information whether variable has value or is undefined ...
6
votes
1answer
278 views

Is there a well grounded theory on backward and forward compatibility of formats, languages, grammars and vocabularies?

I have a friend who has the specific problem of building a case against the use of a custom HTML <wrapper> tag in some site's markup. Now, intuitively we can answer that use of such a tag is ...
6
votes
1answer
112 views

Collective term for shaking device and using accelerometer of a device

Does anyone know what the collective term for shaking a device to achieve something or using the accelerometer of a device to do something is? Is it haptic technology?
6
votes
1answer
790 views

Terminology: Really Delete vs set IsDeleted (“soft delete”) flag

I have a site where a regular user can delete records, where what happens is that an IsDeleted flag gets set. On administrative pages, a privileged user can delete records where an actual SQL DELETE ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the difference between “recursion” and “self-reference”?

The wikipedia articles are too advanced for me to understand, could someone give me a simple explanation please?
5
votes
6answers
421 views

What kind of bug is this? [closed]

My application has 3 shipping methods, the cheapest of which is free. The free shipping option is only available for orders totaling over $100. As soon as I built it, I thought of a way a user could ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Every function is a closure?

Wikipedia says, that closure - is a function, which has an access to variables, declared outside of the function. There is even an example: function startAt(x) function incrementBy(y) ...
5
votes
3answers
492 views

Is there a phrase or word to describe an algorithim or program is complete in that given any value for its arguments there is a defined outcome?

Is there a phrase or word to describe an algorithim or programme is complete in that given any value for its arguments there is a defined outcome? i.e. all the ramifications have been considered ...
5
votes
7answers
9k views

What's the difference between the terms “protocol” and “standard”?

I find the term "protocol" confusing (in the terms of computer science that is). If the protocol is just a set of rules, wouldn't it be easier if we used the term "standard" instead (like in "HTTP ...
5
votes
4answers
976 views

Is a programming language a set of programs or a set of instructions?

From Structured Computer Organization by Tanenbum A program is a sequence of instructions describing how to perform a certain task. When trying to see a programming language as a formal ...
5
votes
5answers
379 views

How to talk about anonymous methods/lambdas

I realised the other day that I don't know how to talk about anonymous methods. It's easy enough to talk about named methods (The X method takes a Y1, Y2 and Y3) and classes (The X class has A, B and ...
5
votes
3answers
341 views

Is “frontend” generic term or it is used only in web design?

When I read about frontends, it always mentiones webpages. Can it be used in different contexts, e.g. desktop applications?
5
votes
5answers
424 views

Adding quirks from an old system to a new system because that's what people are used to - a term for this?

Is there a term for the above? When building a new system developers are sometimes instructed (that is a different issue) to "keep things as they are", regardless of how inefficient or unusable they ...
5
votes
3answers
242 views

Is continuous integration more than just automatically testing code?

Is continuous integration about more than just automatically testing code, either periodically or after every commit to the main repository? Before today, I'd heard the term CI, and about CI services ...