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Programmer mumbo jumbo

10 developer phrases that mean something completely different

JAX Editorial Team

How to speak the language of programmers: a JAXenter guide to understanding developer lingo.

Have you ever heard a colleague use the phrase The code explains itself? What your co-worker really means, is that they were not bothered to write any commentary.

As you’ve probably noticed, what developers say and what they mean are usually two completely different things. Don’t worry though, you will soon learn to debunk the vague phrases and decipher what’s what.

A short guide to translating developer’s jargon recently surfaced on Imgur with the aim of helping you to differentiate what is said from what is meant. We’ve summarized the best bits.

Classic programmer talk

  • When developers say “That’s a really bad hack” they always mean “That’s a terrible hack and I didn’t write it”. If however, they refer to a bad hack as a “Small workaround” you can be certain that they wrote it themselves.

  • When developers say “That code is totally broken” they really mean “There are still bugs in your code”. However, they say “There are still a few small problems” it means “There are still bugs in my code”

  • “Bad architecture” means “Your code is badly organised” whereas “Complex architecture” means “My code is badly organised”

The good, the bad and the ugly: the top 10 things developers say

  1. It’s legacy code: It works but no one knows how.

  2. We’re agile: We have a boring scrum-meeting every morning where we have to stand.

  3. We tested it: It’s running on my computer.

  4. We haven’t tested it yet: It’s full of bugs.

  5. It’s a clean solution: It’s working and I know why.

  6. We need to rewrite it: It’s working but I have no idea why.

  7. The library is broken: I had no interest in writing it myself.

  8. Java is better than PHP: I’m bored and I’m in the mood for a big debate.

  9. We’ll be finished with the feature tomorrow: We’re pushing it live tomorrow and we will be fixing it over the next five days.

  10. We’ll be finished next week: Quit asking stupid questions!

What do you think? Is this a fair stereotype? There are a lot more sayings that we could add to this list. What kind of developer lingo do you hear around the office? Let us know!

Perplexed man via Shutterstock