An Urban Dictionary for Software Developers


The best tools help software engineers write applications in an efficient and productive manner. These include the ability to look up code samples in an unfamiliar language, or even try to find out the meaning of a term never seen before. In fact, we previously discussed SyntaxDB, a search engine aimed at helping devs find insight in how to use a certain programming language.

This time out we take a look at a new “urban dictionary” for technology professionals, especially software developers. Maybe it belongs in your team’s utility toolbox, residing alongside a fully-functional DAW? Let’s take a closer look.

“A Crowdsourced Dictionary of Coding Terms”

This new software developer urban dictionary is called Hackterms, and it positions itself a crowdsourced dictionary of coding terms. It offers meaningful insight if you stumble upon some unfamiliar jargon, and seems especially helpful as preparation for a technical interview. News about Hackterms appeared on the Dice blog earlier this month.

The Dice post notes that Hackterms essentially serves as a global Wiki for software development. As such, it depends on contributions from its user base for accurate definitions. Even those users not contributing definitions for terms enjoy the opportunity to upvote and downvote existing entries.

So add a measure of Reddit to the Wiki functionality and you get an idea of what Hackterms is all about. It nicely illustrates the power of the crowdsourcing model when applied to a specific topic like software development. Sure, using a general search engine like Google performs a similar function, but without the needle eye focus of Hackterms.

The definitions within this software development urban dictionary are concise and to the point. If you only need a quick answer to your programming query it remains a great option; possibly the best one in the industry. Everything from obvious definitions like “JavaScript” to something more esoteric like “anti-pattern” is in there. Actually, anti-pattern is a trending definition on the site.

Also trending is “Swift,” Apple’s language for easy iOS development and more. We mention this because the Dice article at the time of its publication one week ago noted that Swift wasn’t included. The fact a definition now exists so quickly also highlights the power of crowdsourcing.

The Genesis of Hackterms

Hackterms is the brainchild of Max Pekarsky, a software engineer who also works as an accomplished music composer. He focuses on ensuring the search engine offers concise definitions without source code adding to the overall complexity. In fact, this positions Hackterms as a perfect companion to SyntaxDB.

Max feels his website serves as a reference instead of a programming manual. The website is primarily targeted at those new to software engineering. Still, considering the rapid pace of change throughout the industry, new terms are being invented on a daily basis, making the tool useful for programmers of all experience levels.

If you are interested in contributing to Hackterms, simply create your own account and start adding definitions or merely upvote those already in the dictionary. It provides a great way to feel a part of the worldwide developer community.

Thanks for reading this edition of the Betica Blog. Stay tuned for additional stories and insights from the software development world.