Questions tagged [terminology]

Questions about the objective meaning or common understanding of words and concepts related to the systems development life cycle

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339
votes
6answers
24k views

What is negative code?

I was reading the Wikipedia article on Douglas McIlroy and found a quote that mentions "The real hero of programming is the one who writes negative code." What does that mean?
208
votes
10answers
24k views

Is there a name for the (anti- ) pattern of passing parameters that will only be used several levels deep in the call chain?

I was trying to find alternatives to the use of global variable in some legacy code. But this question is not about the technical alternatives, I'm mainly concerned about the terminology. The ...
173
votes
12answers
243k views

What's the difference between an API and an SDK?

I was looking through various APIs and SDKs, when I realized that I couldn't really tell the difference between something called an API and something called an SDK. Both of them are, conceptually, a ...
157
votes
12answers
41k views

Why does it matter that HTML and CSS are not programming languages?

Example here: What languages should I know if I'm interested in building web applications? Yes, I understand that HTML and CSS are not Turing-complete. Yes, I understand that they are ...
141
votes
11answers
22k views

Should I stop using the term C/C++?

I understand C and C++ are different languages but when I was learning C++ I was always told that C is a subset of C++ or C++ is C with classes. And that was quite true until the appearance of C++x0, ...
122
votes
15answers
155k views

How is a “Software Developer” different from a “Software Consultant”? What makes a consultant?

I have seen a lot of people claiming themselves to be a "software consultant". These consultants do what a normal software developer does, write code, estimate tasks, fix bugs and attend meetings etc. ...
110
votes
10answers
262k views

Relationship between user story, feature, and epic?

As someone who's still new to agile, I'm not sure I completely understand the relationship or difference between user story, feature, and epic. According to this question, a feature is a collection ...
106
votes
6answers
122k views

Method vs Function vs Procedure

Simple question, but I often hear these three terms defined with such ferocity, but which have been known to me to mean different things over the years. What are the "correct" definitions of "...
106
votes
8answers
95k views

The difference between “concurrent” and “parallel” execution?

What is the difference between the terms concurrent and parallel execution? I've never quite been able to grasp the distinction. The tag defines concurrency as a manner of running two processes ...
106
votes
4answers
71k views

IPv4 to IPv6. where is IPv5?

As all of us know that after IPv4 it came IPv6. How this transition happened? I just want to know was there any IPv5 also? or there is any other logic in naming this version of IP as IPv6?
104
votes
6answers
17k views

What is a domain?

I see this term a lot in the context of software architecture ("domain-model", "domain-driven-design" etc.). I have googled it, but I get tons of different definitions. So what is it really?
101
votes
2answers
104k views

What does the term “Payload” mean in programming

I was going through the source code of an open source framework, where I saw a variable "payload" mentioned many times. Any ideas what "payload" stands for?
97
votes
6answers
146k views

What's the difference between simulation and emulation

I frequently see Simulation and Emulation in computer science. These two terms seem synonymous. Is there any difference between Simulation and Emulation?
91
votes
3answers
8k views

Is there a term for unimplemented code that was written for someone else to fill in?

Sometimes in a programming exercise, boilerplate generation, putting guide rails around the tasks for a junior programmer to implement, etc., it happens that the programmer is presented unimplemented ...
84
votes
2answers
68k views

What are the difference between an edge case, a corner case, a base case and a boundary case?

I'm not a native English speaker. In my native language I'm aware of some terms used to refer to the condition checked to stop a recursion, and to the condition checked for extreme, unlikely or super-...
84
votes
3answers
189k views

Difference between Web API and Web Service?

I have heard a lot about Web Services and Web APIs, is there any difference between them or are they the same?
79
votes
7answers
14k views

Why are bit masks called “masks” and what purpose do they serve?

Why are "bit masks" called like this? I know that they are mainly used for bitwise operations and the usage of bit masks is more efficient than the usage of separate variables. However my question ...
78
votes
6answers
79k views

What does it mean when data is scalar?

I don't know what scalar means exactly, but I'm trying to see if I'm thinking about it correctly. Does scalar relate to arbitrariness where the type of data could be any type, or a system is not able ...
68
votes
14answers
5k views

Name for this antipattern? Fields as local variables [closed]

In some code I'm reviewing, I'm seeing stuff that's the moral equivalent of the following: public class Foo { private Bar bar; public MethodA() { bar = new Bar(); bar.A();...
65
votes
4answers
21k views

Developing a feature which sole purpose to be taken out? [closed]

What is the name of the pattern in which individual contributors (programmers/designers) developed an artifact for the sole purpose is to serve as a diversion so that management can remove that ...
63
votes
1answer
20k views

Java: “Heap pollution” [closed]

A "Heap Pollution" as in Non-Reifiable Types (The Java™ Tutorials > Learning the Java Language > Generics (Updated)) Why is it called that way?
60
votes
14answers
204k views

What is the history of the use of “foo” and “bar” in source code examples?

Why do many code examples, especially tutorials, use the names "Foo" and "Bar" so often? It is almost a standard. For example: void foo(char* bar) { printf("%s", bar); }
57
votes
3answers
89k views

What are DRY, KISS, SOLID, etc. classified as?

Is something like DRY a design pattern, a methodology, or something in between? They do not have specific implementations that could neccessarily be demonstrated(even if you can easily demonstrate a ...
55
votes
17answers
9k views

What is a hack? [closed]

I often hear co-workers saying to each other, "That's a horrible, horrible hack." What I can take away from that is that it's not good. When I asked them if it works they say "yes, but it's not good"....
55
votes
3answers
9k views

What is the name for storing / packing many boolean states into one number?

It's a sort of simple compression where you use one numeric variable to store many boolean / binary states, using doubling and the fact that every doubling number is 1 + the sum of all the previous ...
55
votes
4answers
26k views

What is language-agnosticism and why is it called that way?

When is something language agnostic? Why is it called that way?
54
votes
7answers
106k views

What does artifact mean?

The dictionary defines artifact as: artefact, artifact [ˈɑːtɪˌfækt] n something made or given shape by man, such as a tool or a work of art, esp an object of archaeological interest ...
53
votes
5answers
91k views

What does 'Nightly Builds' mean?

I have been using open source projects for a while and been developing upon the open source applications and every so often I come across the words 'Nightly Build' and I have always been curious as to ...
47
votes
11answers
6k views

The meaning of asynchronous vs synchronous [closed]

What is the meaning of the words asynchronous and synchronous in computer science? If you google the meaning of the words you will get the following: Asynchronous: not existing or occurring at the ...
47
votes
6answers
6k views

Is a memoized pure function itself considered pure?

Let’s say fn(x) is a pure function that does something expensive, like returning a list of the prime factors of x. And let’s say we make a memoized version of the same function called memoizedFn(x). ...
46
votes
9answers
22k views

What is enterprise software, exactly?

I don't understand the difference between "normal" software and enterprise software. Even after reading these... "Enterprise Software" on Wikipedia "Enterprise Software Is Sexy Again" on Techcrunch ...
45
votes
14answers
5k views

Why are errors named as “Exception” but not as “Error” in programming languages?

I've been thinking about that for quite a while actually. I am not a native english speaker myself but still I have years of programming experience and I always asked me this. Why is it named as ...
45
votes
3answers
41k views

Difference between hotfix and bugfix? [closed]

I know this is a very basic question but I cant seem to find the answer with Google. What is the difference between a hotfix and a bugfix?
45
votes
9answers
10k views

What is the difference between “Syntax” and “Syntactic Sugar”

Background The Wikipedia page on Syntactic Sugar states: In computer science, syntactic sugar is syntax within a programming language that is designed to make things easier to read or to express. ...
44
votes
1answer
9k views

What is an untriaged bug?

I am an undergrad studying Computer Science. When I tried reporting bugs to several projects, I came across the classification untriaged a lot. A web search didn't really explain what this means. ...
43
votes
3answers
9k views

What is the origin and meaning of the phrase “Lambda the ultimate?”

I've been messing around with functional programming languages for a few years, and I keep encountering this phrase. For example, it is a chapter of "The Little Schemer, which certainly predates the ...
42
votes
3answers
6k views

Why are actual parameters called “arguments”?

Where does the word "argument" (in the programming sense) come from? i.e. Why are actual parameters called "arguments"? The meanings don't seem related, and I haven't found any explanation of it ...
42
votes
10answers
30k views

What defines robust code?

My professor keeps referring to this Java example when he speaks of "robust" code: if (var == true) { ... } else if (var == false) { ... } else { ... } He claims that "robust code" means ...
42
votes
4answers
26k views

Which way are downstream and upstream services?

For a system that consist of multiple services calling each other (e.g. Front End -> Backend -> Storage), I often heard people using terminology such as "downstream" or "upstream" services. I'm not ...
42
votes
4answers
18k views

What is “swarming”?

I've heard swarming mentioned in the context of Agile or Extreme Programming. It seems to be a complement to pairing. What exactly is it? When should it be applied? How do you do it well?
41
votes
6answers
4k views

Why do we use the word “sprint”?

One of the founding principles of the Agile Manifesto is Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace ...
39
votes
4answers
104k views

What does the suffix after software engineer/developer job titles mean? (e.g. Software Developer III) [closed]

I keep seeing job postings as "Java Software Developer III" or "Software Developer II". Is there any official documentation that classifies these distinctions?
39
votes
10answers
9k views

Difference between Idiom and Design Pattern?

What is the difference between idiom and design-pattern? It seems that these terminologies overlap somewhere; where exactly, I don't know. Are they interchangeable? When should I use what? Here is a ...
39
votes
6answers
41k views

What is the difference between development and R&D?

I was asked by a colleague to explain clearly the difference between ordinary development and research and development (R&D) and was unable to do it. After reading Wikipedia, I still don't have ...
39
votes
7answers
6k views

What makes a piece of software an Engine? [closed]

The descriptor 'Engine' gets thrown around a lot: graphics engine, RegEx engine, AI engine, etc. but what actually makes a piece of software an Engine? Design, Input/Output, Purpose, Size?
38
votes
10answers
5k views

Why is Today() an example of an impure function?

It seems like, when reading something like this Wikipedia article about "pure functions", they list Today() as an example of an impure function but it seems pretty pure to me. Is it because there is ...
38
votes
24answers
35k views

What is abstraction? [closed]

Is there a generally agreed upon definition for what a programming abstraction is, as used by programmers? [Note, programming abstraction is not to be confused with dictionary definitions for the word ...
38
votes
5answers
86k views

Programming Language vs Markup Language vs Scripting Language

Up until now I don't know the KEY differences between these three. When someone asks me about this, I only tell them that C# is a programming language, HTML and XML are Markup Languages, and ...
37
votes
8answers
2k views

What is the term for a really BIG source code commit? [closed]

Sometimes when we check the commit history of a software, we may see that there are a few commits that are really BIG - they may change 10 or 20 files with hundreds of changed source code lines (delta)...
37
votes
5answers
5k views

What's the word for an operation that can be applied multiple times and never change state beyond the initial application?

I'm trying to remember a word, I think it's related to computational or database theory. The closest synonym is atomic but that's not exactly it. Basically it's a kind of computation that should ...