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Author Topic: Programming abbreviations?
maybe.logic
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Icon 5 posted July 12, 2006 02:02      Profile for maybe.logic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Right. I am a bit of a nOOb at programming but I know a few things...

I am at the moment trying to learn Perl, The first thing I read was, TMTOWTDI paradigm of Perl, now I now know that this stands for there's more than one way to do it, but my question is why is it that there are so many of the abbreviations in programming languages, I know it is shorter than writting it, but surley it takes more time to think of the first letter in each word and then write it?

Can someone explain to me why they do this.

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted July 12, 2006 02:25            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You mean, why do people abbreviate? Why we write "can't" instead of "can not"? Why people don't write out "British Broadcasting Corporation" or "United States of America" in full every time? Abbreviation is nothing new, and it's found in all walks of life including maritime and amateur radio as well as IT.

I don't know what specific examples you mean (it is a good idea to always cite examples) but it's generally never hard to write acronyms and other abbreviations. It's hard to read them when you've forgotten (again!) what they stand for, but this is a different matter to that which you brought up.

That is why I love People Cannot Memorise Computer Industry Acronyms (anyone who's tried to remember what the heck PCMCIA stands for will laugh). Whoever wrote that one is my personal hero. For everything else, there's Acronym Finder. Set it up as an address bar search (in browsers such as iCab and Firefox) so you can reference any acronym by pressing ^T (new tab) and typing "a PCMCIA" (for example) into the address bar and pressing enter.

Address bar searching is one of the most awesome ideas in a long time. For me:

  • a = Acronym Finder
  • d = Dictionary.com
  • ds = Discogs search (D in iCab)
  • g = Google
  • gi = Google images (G in iCab)
  • gu = Google UK
  • u = Urban Dictionary
  • w = wikipedia

and so forth. Want a definition of a word? Type "d word" and hit enter. Infinitely more powerful than the stupid search box in the toolbar. (Firefox also has really lame defaults like "google" for "Google"; I always set it to "g" for speed.) iCab only allows one letter but it's case sensitive.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted July 12, 2006 02:50      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by uilleann:
That is why I love People Cannot Memorise Computer Industry Acronyms (anyone who's tried to remember what the heck PCMCIA stands for will laugh). Whoever wrote that one is my personal hero.

Another good one,(the scanner interface standard) TWAIN = Technology Without An Interesting Name.

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted July 12, 2006 03:30      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
__________________I am partial to RAID and SCSI plus its speed notations

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maximile

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Icon 1 posted July 12, 2006 04:57      Profile for maximile   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by uilleann:
For everything else, there's Acronym Finder. Set it up as an address bar search (in browsers such as iCab and Firefox) so you can reference any acronym by pressing ^T (new tab) and typing "a PCMCIA" (for example) into the address bar and pressing enter.

Address bar searching is one of the most awesome ideas in a long time. For me:

  • a = Acronym Finder
  • d = Dictionary.com
  • ds = Discogs search (D in iCab)
  • g = Google
  • gi = Google images (G in iCab)
  • gu = Google UK
  • u = Urban Dictionary
  • w = wikipedia

and so forth. Want a definition of a word? Type "d word" and hit enter. Infinitely more powerful than the stupid search box in the toolbar. (Firefox also has really lame defaults like "google" for "Google"; I always set it to "g" for speed.) iCab only allows one letter but it's case sensitive.

Hmm... I've for a long time had the idea of writing a Dashboard Widget that would do something like that. I used to spend long periods of time away from the internet, and whenever I get connected again, I could never remember what I was looking for. I wanted a widget that you could just activate, add "wiki whatever" to the list and when I next connected they'd all open in new tabs.
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maybe.logic
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Icon 1 posted July 12, 2006 05:20      Profile for maybe.logic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by uilleann:
You mean, why do people abbreviate?

No, I mean why do programmers change sentences into first letter sentences.

My point was, that every time I have stared to learn a new programming language there has always been one of theese "abbreviations", I have always thorght that abbreviations were mean't to be easier, doing that I feel is harder.

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Spiderman

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Icon 1 posted July 12, 2006 06:23      Profile for Spiderman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by maybe.logic:
quote:
Originally posted by uilleann:
You mean, why do people abbreviate?

No, I mean why do programmers change sentences into first letter sentences.

My point was, that every time I have stared to learn a new programming language there has always been one of theese "abbreviations", I have always thorght that abbreviations were mean't to be easier, doing that I feel is harder.

This has not been my experience in general. For one, I certainly do not reduce my code comments to unintelligible acronyms, nor do know any programmers who do.

This even holds true for much of the third-party code I've been exposed to - I've never seen the issue you describe, or at least not to the extent you claim.

So, give us some examples? Or maybe you should be using a different language. [Wink] </ruby zealot>

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quantumfluff
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Icon 1 posted July 12, 2006 07:42      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I always was a fan of acronyms that got hijacked to a new meaning. ISDN => "It still does nothing", PETA => "People eating tasty animals".
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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted July 12, 2006 07:51      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Tim Toady is a part of Perl culture...it's not the kind of think you find in most languages. But in real life, there's also TNSTAAFL, and others that I can't think of right now. Get yourself significant immersed in what I like to call 'Net culture,' and after awhile you'll actually know what they mean without prior knowledge. It's a scary realization sometimes...but I can read /., encounter an acronym or initialism that I've never seen before and figure it out within seconds.

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted July 12, 2006 08:11      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Acronyms are usually the result of one of three things. First, sometimes you can come up with a memorable nickname for something that way. Second, some people are too damned lazy to type full words, even if they're only saving a few characters. Last, some of the really stupid people think it looks professional.

My company has some of the last class in management positions and, for a time, they seemed to think everyone was an engineer. Before it was over, we had "Online System Engineers" and "Online Sales Engineers" both being referred to as OSEs. Sometimes in the same document. [shake head]

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Jessycat

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Icon 1 posted July 12, 2006 09:15      Profile for Jessycat     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
IANAP (I am not a programmer) but I've always looked at these kinds of acronyms as part of geek jargon. It's all a way to have fun with language. And, who says geeks always want to be understood by non-geeks? Can't make things too easy on the masses. [Wink]
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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted July 12, 2006 11:14      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Jessycat:
IANAP (I am not a programmer) but I've always looked at these kinds of acronyms as part of geek jargon. It's all a way to have fun with language. And, who says geeks always want to be understood by non-geeks? Can't make things too easy on the masses. [Wink]

TMABIMF.

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted July 12, 2006 14:37      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by dragonman97:
TMABIMF.

There Maybe A Barista In My Future ?

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted July 12, 2006 15:51      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:
quote:
Originally posted by dragonman97:
TMABIMF.

There Maybe A Barista In My Future ?
Nah...rumors of that are just a lot of hype. [Wink]

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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maybe.logic
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Icon 1 posted July 13, 2006 01:01      Profile for maybe.logic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
PERL seems to be a popular "abbreviation".

PERL practical extraction and report language
PERL Practical Extraction Reporting Language
PERL Packed Encoding Rules
PERL Practical Extraction Report Language
PERL Pickering Education Resources Library
PERL Passivated Emitter Rear Locally
PERL Pratical Extraction and Reporting Language
PERL Psychology in Education Research Lab
PERL Positioned Equipment Requirement List
PERL Population and Ecology Research Laboratory
PERL Polymer Engineering Research Laboratory
PERL Pupils Equal React to Light
PERL Pickering Educational Resources Library
PERL Pupils Equal Reactive to Light
PERL Postsecondary Education Resource Library
PERL Progressive Efforts to Reform the Locality
PERL Practical Extraction and Recording Language
PERL Protein Expression and Recovery Labs
PERL Public Employee Retirement Law
PERL Personnel Expertise and Resource Listing
PERL Precision Engineering Research Lathes
PERL Prepositioned Equipment Requirement List
PERL Precision Engineering Research Lathe
PERL Prepositioned Equipment Requirements List

http://www.acronymattic.com/results.aspx?q=PERL

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GameMaster
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Icon 1 posted July 13, 2006 08:46      Profile for GameMaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Alphabet soup... It's not only found in programming. Have you ever dealt with the government or a university system... What I hate is when two orginization inside the same institutions take the same acronym. For instance, SAC is both Senate Approrations Committee and the Special Abilities Center here at UW-Milwaukee.

There is also a historical aspect to programmers in the FOSS community naming their projects with acronyms so that they can include odd stuff in their name, or so that the name of the technology is cute or lude. I point you to:
GNU - GNU's Not Unix - recursivly named
WINE - Wine Is Not an Emulator - when it is clearly an emulator.
YAIM - Yet Another Instant Messenger - Overloaded for the same product, and a joke at Yahoo!'s expense.
STD - Security Tools Distribution - A live linux CD named sich for overloading a common non-computer related acronym.

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Geordie

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Icon 1 posted July 13, 2006 14:18      Profile for Geordie     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by maybe.logic:
PERL seems to be a popular "abbreviation".

PERL practical extraction and report language
...

Without Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister the list is hardly complete.

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Geordie

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