Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Speak Like a Professional Developer

Every scientific field has its own vocabulary, composed of the special words it uses to define things that are only of interest to those in the field. For example, when watching a hospital show on TV you get to hear stuff like "he's in hypocardiac messenterporary rhythm" which non-medical people don't understand (ok, I made that one up).

Software development also has those special words but, annoyingly, the words we use are words that already have a meaning in English. We just give them a different, very specific, meaning. As a developer you will need to learn these words since they are used in both conversation and in writing (that API you are trying to understand).

Below are some examples from the last test. These terms are defined in the book, look them up if you can't remember what they mean:

  • scope - Sample usage: "Variable X cannot be used outside its scope". You don't say: "X is a local variable within the loop", or "X has no meaning in line 12"
  • argument - Sample usage: "Method setName takes two arguments". You don't say: "Method setName takes two inputs", or "Method setName is filled in with two variables"
  • type - Sample usage: "X and Y are of different types". You don't say: "X is used as a String and Y is used as an int"
  • declared vs initialized - these are different. Do not confuse them.

And, no, I do not take points off for this, as long as I know what you mean its OK. Still, you should learn to talk the talk.

No comments: