Re: software-eng-ese

Subject: Re: software-eng-ese
From: Michael Priestley <mpriestley -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 13:54:21 EDT

Sheila Brennan (sheilab -at- berlioz -dot- nsc -dot- com) wrote:
>Help! I need a source for information on vocabulary and syntax specific to
>software development documentation. Example: instantiate is not a word in
>english but in the software development world it means something.

Instantiate is a word. Check the dictionary again.
Webster's Ninth:
to represent (an abstraction) with a concrete instance
(eg, heroes instantiate ideals)

It is a word in common use in object oriented programming. IBM's
Dictionary of Computing (McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0070314896) defines it as:
1) to make an instance of; to replicate. 2) in object-oriented programming,
to represent a class abstraction with a concrete instance of the class.
3) in the AIXwindows program, to create a specific concrete instance of that
general class.

Uniquify, on the other hand, is a new one to me. It doesn't appear in any
dictionary I've got handy; I'd talk to the developer, found out what they
meant, and rewrite in English.

In sum: instantiate is an English word already (without reference to
software-specific vocab); uniquify isn't an English word (even with ref to
software-specific vocab). For words in general use, I check Webster's
Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. For words specific to software/computers,
or with new meanings in those realms, I check the IBM Dictionary of Computing
(kind of predictable given my employer).

PS: if possible, please use hard returns in your messages. Yours showed up
as three very long lines in my mail reader, making it hard to read and harder
to quote from.

Thanks, and hope this helped,

Michael Priestley
mpriestley -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com
Disclaimer: speaking on my own behalf, not IBM's.

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