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Understanding the Slang of Programmers: a Mini-Dictionary for Juniors

If you are a junior who doesn’t understand what your proficient colleague says, we will help you.

Check our glossary of some terms, and most importantly, slang words that are vital for understanding while embarking upon a career. Let's go!

1. Spaghetti code

Spaghetti code is a slang expression used to describe a program's source code that is hard to read. It often happens that a colleague's programmer has written code as clear as mud.

This can be triggered by changing project requirements, lack of programming style rules, and poor programmer experience.

2. Camel, Snake, and Kebab cases

All of these words relate to the writing style of words in programming.

So, CamelCase stands for writing several words without spaces, while each word inside the phrase is written with a capital letter. The style is called CamelCase because the capital letters inside the word resemble the humps of a camel.

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In Snake Case, each space is replaced with an underscore.

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In Kebab or Dash Case spaces are replaced by a dash.

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3. Syntactic sugar

Syntactic sugar is a feature of a programming language that makes code easier to read, write, and understand. At the same time, it’s possible to do without syntactic sugar, but the implementation will turn out to be more cumbersome (complex, incomprehensible).

4. Boilerplate

This is the name of a piece of code that is included in various places with little or no change. It can be used both in a negative context ("I write the same thing"), and in a neutral one ("blank", code for starting a project).

5. Repo

The short version from the repository – a folder containing all the source files of a project. It also contains the entire history of each file and lines of code that you can look into.

6. Front-end and Back-end

Front-end is a public part of web applications (websites) with which the user can interact. It includes displaying functional tasks, a user interface performed on the client side, and handling user requests. In fact, the Front-end is everything that the user sees when opening a web page.

The developer who works with Front-end Web development, knows one or more JavaScript frameworks (React, Angular, Vue.js), as well as many other web technologies that are used during the creation of the client-side of a website.

Back-end is all that happens on the server side and that remains invisible to the user (the server itself is also part of the Back-end). Hence the name “front” is what is seen from the front, “back” is what is hidden from behind, invisible.

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7. Git

Git is a distributed version control system that allows developers to track changes in files and work on the same project together with colleagues. It was developed in 2005 by Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux so that other developers can contribute to the Linux engine.

8. Ternary Operator

This is the only operator with three arguments, as the name suggests. The first argument is a condition. If it is true, the operator will turn the second argument. Otherwise, it will return the third argument.

It looks like the conditional “if” with an alternative “else” branch, but its syntax allows you to write fewer lines of code.

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9. DOM

DOM stands for Document Object Model – the interface for web pages. It's like an API for a page, allowing Javascript or CSS to read and manipulate the content, structure, and styles of the page.

10. GitHub

GitHub is an online repository hosting service that has all the distributed version control and source control functionality. It allows developers to collaborate with other experts around the world, plan their projects and keep track of their work.

For the expressions of your fellow developers not to sound like a mathematical analysis to a Neanderthal man, you need to keep self-developing. Read specialized literature, hang out on GitHub, and communicate with like-minded people. This is the only way to become a real ace in programming.

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