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Programming vocabulary, or the lack of it

Some terms in programming languages I’ve used that I rarely had an intuition when I was introduced to them, in no particular order:

Railties: This is a term in Ruby on Rails that relates to the individual components and modules that form the whole of the framework. I did not know this stood for anything until today when I saw a video about Shinkansen on YouTube. There’s a mention about how the designers had to design new tracks in order to support the faster trains, and it also mentions this word. Apparently it’s the name for the parallel concrete “bridges” below the tracks. In India (and I’m sure this came from our erstwhile British overlords) we call these “sleepers”, so the term “railties” was never in my vocabulary.

Scaffold: This is another term I got introduced when learning Ruby on Rails. In the framework, this signifies a set of templates that get generated to help you avoid creating files manually, and get you started up and running quickly. I never was able to visualise this word; I just assumed it stood for nothing in particular. It only became obvious when I went to a different country and saw a building under construction. To be fair, I did see under-construction buildings in my life before, but I never called (or heard someone call) the framework around the building this word.

Anything in homebrew: The homebrew utility is a godsend for command-line users on Apple machines. I remember a time when the official Command Line Tools didn’t even ship as a separate package, and one had to download Xcode which was a bad experience (slow networks!) back then. However, many commands and vocabulary used in the tool was hard for to visualise until a point. I never knew, for a long time, why tap was called that. Or Cellar. Or Cask. I knew each of these words, of course, but never was able to visualise all of them together, or that they represented…brewing beer, which is in the name so this makes me feel extra stupid at times :)

Programming, both past and present, relies on terms and words reused from other fields. It’s particularly fun when the dots get connected.