a vocabulary question

Subject: a vocabulary question
From: Mark Levinson <MarkL -at- gilian -dot- com>
To: 'TECHWR-L' <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000 14:48:42 +0200

Suppose I had a product that displays sports scores. It happens
that the overall score for Spain vs. Germany depends on the
Garcia-Schmidt score, on the Ramirez-Braun score, etc. In turn,
the Garcia-Schmidt score depends on the outcome of the first
Garcia-Schmidt game, on the outcome of the second Garcia-Schmidt
game, etc.

These are dependencies. I have a vocabulary question.

For our product, the programmers wanted to call the scores
"dependencies" of one another. (No, we're not dealing
in sports scores; but the situation is analogous.) The idea
is that Garcia vs. Schmidt would be considered a dependency
of Spain vs. Germany.

I said no, the dependency is the condition or relationship.
It's the depending. It's not the thing that's depended on.
In fact, if it's either thing at all, it's the thing that
depends on the other, as Guam is a dependency of the USA.

They said, well not in our world, because when we compile a
program we have something called a Dependencies List and it is
a list of what the program depends on.

I buy that, I said. A list of dependencies really should
say "my program depends on X, my program depends on Y, my
program depends on Z," and it's obvious why you would
simply list X, Y, and Z instead. But out in the real world
the things that you depend on are not your dependencies.
Harrumph, I said. So there, I said. And I used the word
"dependencies" in the documentation, and I approved it in
the GUI, wherever I felt it could be justified as referring
to the relationship, but not where it unmistakably referred
to the thing that is depended on. For the thing that is
depended on, I got a different word approved.

The programmers still scratch their heads as I walk by.
Maybe that's only because of my taste in t-shirts, but
I think that they still believe the dependencies issue went
the wrong way. Do you?

---------------------------------------- Classification: Public -
- Mark L. Levinson - Gilian Technologies - markl -at- gilian -dot- com -
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- home: nosnivel -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il, tel +972-9-9552411 or 9555720 -
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