A list of funny terms floating around the coding world, and their origins. Please feel free to add more suggestions, definitions or examples!
- Bug - an error or malfunction in a program or system that causes incorrect or unexpected results. It was used to describe a "little fault" by Thomas Edison as far back as 1876, but within software engineering its use is attributed to Grace Hopper who in 1947 told the story of a malfunction being caused due to a moth being trapped in a relay during her work at Harvard; the moth was removed, and taped to the account of the error in the log book.
camelCase - the convention of writing compound words or phrases with no spaces between the words, starting with an initial lowercase letter and each remaining word element beginning with an uppercase letter, eg. iPod.
Cargo cult programming - "a style of computer programming characterized by the ritual inclusion of code or program structures that serve no real purpose"
Cowboy coding - programmers who write code according to their own rules. They may be very good at writing code, but they don't generally follow standard processes or policies.
- Duck typing - from the principle, "if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it is a duck", it is the convention of assuming that an object will behave in a particular way based on its behaviour at a certain time.
- Heartbeat - a periodic signal generated by hardware or software to indicate normal operation or to synchronize other parts of a system, ie. to indicate that the hardware/software is 'alive' and running properly.
- Monkey patching - fixing a problem without fixing it at the source, but rather by adding a workaround elsewhere. See examples on Stackoverflow.
- Rubber duck debugging - a reference to a story in the book The Pragmatic Programmer, it is the process of explaining a programming problem to someone else, possibly even to someone who knows nothing about programming (eg. a rubber duck), and realising the solution while doing so.
- Spam - spamming is the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages (spam). The origin of the word spam comes from the famous British sketch Monty Python, watch this video.
- Yak shaving - invented by Carlin Vieri of MIT back in the 90s, it is the act of doing a little task that has no obvious relationship to your intended task, but which is somehow linked to that main aim through a chain of other activities.