Interesting Programming Terms/Jargon You Must Know

Here are some interesting programming terms, OR you can say programming jargon

Yoda Conditions:

When a programmer writes the conditions for a piece of code in the opposite order for which you would expect to normally read them. (Instead of saying if(variable == constant), the code says if(constant == variable).)

As a programmer, typos are part of your daily workflow. Problems arise though when the typo is proper syntax and neither the IDE nor interpreter alert you to it. Unexpected behavior will happen if it is not fixed.

Mad Girlfriend Bug

When you see something strange happening, but the software is telling you everything is fine.

Rubber Ducking:

Talking with other engineers to solve a problem. Practical and widely used, but the term is yet unheard to many.


Adding 2 to a variable, double incremental.

Short Circuiting:

When dealing with logical operators, you run into a phenomenon called short circuiting. This means that the expression will be evaluated only until the truth or falsehood of the entire expression can be unambiguously determined.

Christian Magic:

A piece of code someone else wrote or you wrote at 4 am that you have no idea how it works, but it does you just have to believe. Aha! I am a magician!

Cowboy Coders:

Programmers who write code according to their own rules. They may be very good at writing code, but they don’t generally follow standard processes or policies.

Monkey Patching:

Fixing a problem without fixing it at the source, but rather by adding a workaround elsewhere.

Ever read this? Google’s explanation for server side errors-

“Sorry, something went wrong. A team of highly trained monkeys has been dispatched to deal with this situation.”


The process of taking a well-designed piece of code and, through a series of small, reversible changes, making it completely unmaintainable by anyone except yourself.


An applet, usually Java based, that is not worth anything.

Ninja Comments:

Also known as invisible comments, secret comments, or no comments.



Pokémon Exception Handling: 

When you are catching all exceptions using a single try-catch block

Egyptian Brackets

We used to refer to this style of brackets as “Egyptian brackets”. Why? Compare the position of the brackets with the hands in the picture. (This style of brackets is used in Kernighan and Ritchie’s book The C Programming Language, so it’s known by many as K&R style.)

Smug Report

A bug submitted by a user who thinks he knows a lot more about the system’s design than he really does. Filled with irrelevant technical details and one or more suggestions (always wrong) about what he thinks is causing the problem and how we should fix it.

A Duck

A feature added for no other reason than to draw management attention and be removed, thus avoiding unnecessary changes in other aspects of the product.


A computer bug that disappears or alters its characteristics when an attempt is made to study it. (Wikipedia)

Doctype Decoration

When web designers add a doctype declaration but don’t bother to write valid markup.


A generalized name for the clueless/new developer.

Found as we were developing a framework component that required minimal knowledge of how it worked for the other developers. We would always phrase our questions as: “What if Jimmy forgets to update the attribute?”

This led to the term: “Jimmy-proof” when referring to well designed framework code.


A hypothetical bug predicted to exist based on a small number of possibly related event log entries and vague anecdotal reports from users, but it is difficult (if not impossible) to reproduce on a dev machine because you don’t really know if it’s there and if it is there what is causing it.

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