Do you know the basics of programming jargon?

By: Maria Trimarchi
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

From the basic seven-part programming cycle, beginning with requirements setting and construction through deployment and maintenance, comes a lot of really specific vocabulary -- some funny, some matter-of-fact, and all really helpful once you know what they mean. Do you?

In programming, what is a client?

A client is whatever device you use to access the Web, such as your smartphone, laptop or desktop computer.

What is a "zombie" computer?

A networked computer, compromised by malware or a hacker, can be turned into a "zombie" computer or server that, typically, is used to run automated tasks such as denial-of-service (DoS) attacks or other nefarious activities.

Also known as "RAID 1," what is the name for when you replicate data onto separate physical hard disks?

To ensure high performance, continuous availability, and back-up, try disc mirroring. It can be a good choice for uninterrupted real-time backup of things like email and online transactions.

What is the basics of a computer program?

A computer program, when you get right down to it, is just a sequence of instructions. It's an algorithm, written in a language that computers are able to understand.

What is the KISS principle?

This acronym extends beyond computer programming. Thank the U.S. Navy for the KISS principle: Keep it simple, stupid.

What does HTML stand for?

HTML, a language that's used to create webpages, is the acronym for (h)yper(t)ext (m)arkup (l)anguage.

What is an algorithm?

An algorithm is a set of instructions needed to finish a task.

What is considered duplicate code?

Sequences of code that are identical, character for character, are called "duplicate code."

Which is not a programming language?

Perl and Swift are currently in-demand programming languages.

What's it called when a programmer breaks down a complex problem into easier-to-manage sections?

While project managers know the technique as "work breakdown structure," breaking a complex problem down into more manageable sections is known as decomposition in programming.

What is a computer's CPU?

The CPU is a computer's (c)entral (p)rocessing (u)nit, a small chip that handles all the requests and instructions coming from both its hardware and software. Think of it as your computer's brain. You might also hear it called a processor or microprocessor.

If there's an error in your program and it doesn't run correctly, what's that mistake in the programming called?

If there's something wrong with a program, it's time to go looking for the bug.

What does AI stand for in programming development?

AI is the acronym for "artificial intelligence."

The Ruby language is used to build the Ruby on Rails web framework. What programming language is used to build applications for the Django web framework?

Since 2003, programmers have been using the Python language to create applications in the Django web framework.

What is an action statement?

An action statement is a programming statement written to do something. It's a command.

What's the point of practicing the abstraction principle?

The basic tenet of the abstraction principle is to reduce redundancy; don't repeat yourself (DRY).

What's an API?

If you write a program, your code can't communicate with third-party software or websites without a set of rules. That's where an API, an Application Programming Interface, comes in.

What is a DLL?

DLLs are dynamic-link libraries. They may contain code, data or resources, or a combination of these things. Even if you're not a programmer, you might recognize these files from the Microsoft Windows libraries.

A Boolean expression, also called a Boolean or bool, has a value that's what?

No matter what you call it, Boolean expression, Boolean or bool, the value is either true or false.

Which is not a Boolean operator?

And, or and not are three boolean operators (but not all). If, though, is not one of these operators.

What does it mean if part of one piece of code is contained within another?

Nested, or embedded, code is one piece of programming that's contained within another piece of code.

What's the best way to complete the following? "My program didn't run properly, and I've been ____ the code all day."

If a program's code has an error in it, it'll need to be debugged.

State of the art technologies are considered "cutting edge." What kind of technologies are "bleeding edge"?

Bleeding edge technologies have more risk than the more proven cutting-edge technologies. Early adopters may find the technologies are unreliable, untested or not supported by the industry.

Which is not an example of a programming tool?

Compilers, debuggers and source code editors are all examples of programming tools. Modules, though, are a type of programming where each item is coded as its own, yet interchangeable, component.

The graphical user interface of a computer is which part?

The graphical user interface (GUI or UI) of a computer -- or a website, or smartphone -- is known as the "front end," or the elements you, the user, interact with.

What is a computer that hosts and serves code called?

These types of computers host code, which they serve (server, get it?) when requested by a client. Servers are often housed in large warehouses, known as server farms.

Code that's hard to follow, at least by a human, because it's sloppy and poorly organized is called what?

A piece of code that's difficult to follow because it's written without proper organization or formatting, is called spaghetti code.

What is the "syntax" of a programming language?

In the same way we learn spelling and grammar of the language we speak, syntax is the equivalent of that for programming languages. In other words, a programming language's syntax is its rules.

What language is "pseudo code" written in?

Pseudo code isn't a program that's mean to be executed -- it's often used for problem solving. It's a piece of code that's written in English or another human language, rather than in a programming language.

Which is not an example of a background process?

Anything that runs in the background while you're using a different program or the device is asleep is called a background process. It's always on, ready to do what it needs to do. Taking selfies is not one of these always-on processes.

What's it called when a program that's running suddenly stops?

When you're running a program and it suddenly stops -- and maybe pops up a mysterious error code -- that means the program has crashed.

What is a "build machine"?

A build machine, also called a source computer, is a separate computer on the network that's dedicated to working on the code for a computer program.

Some programming langugages use actual words. Which is not a word used in FORTRAN, one of the very first modern programming languages?

FORTRAN, which was invented in 1957, uses English language words, including "continue," "go to" and "if."

YAGNI is a principle in the software development methodology called XP (extreme programming). What does it stand for?

The acronym YGANI, which stands for "you aren't going to need it," is a principle of extreme programming and its practice of doing the simplest thing that will work.

What does the acronym TWAIN stand for?

TWAIN isn't actually an acronym. The origins of the TWAIN term come from how notoriously difficult it was to connect home computers and scanners. From the opening line of Rudyard Kipling's poem, "The Ballad of East and West:" "Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet." The rumor TWAIN stands for "technology without an important name?" That's just a rumor.

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