Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Naming Things is Hard: Spotlight Edition

Like most specialist industries, software is rife with mainstream English words that we’ve taken and misappropriated to mean something completely different. Show business is no different. The software team here at Spotlight sits smack-bang in the intersection between these two specialist fields, and so when we’re talking to our customers and product owners about the systems we build, it’s very important to understand the difference between typecasting and type casting, and exactly what sort of actor model we’re talking about. We therefore present this delightful “double glossary” of everyday terms that you’ll hear here at Spotlight Towers. Because as we all know, there’s only two hard problems in software: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors.

Actor

Software: A mathematical model of concurrent computation that treats "actors" as the universal primitives of concurrent computation.
Showbiz: A person whose profession is acting on the stage, in films, or on television.

Agent

Software: A software agent is a computer program that acts for a user or other program in a relationship of agency
Showbiz: A person who finds jobs for actors, authors, film directors, musicians, models, professional athletes, writers, screenwriters, broadcast journalists, and other people in various entertainment or broadcast businesses.

Callback

Software: Any executable code that is passed as an argument to other code, which is expected to call back (execute) the argument at a given time.
Showbiz: A follow-up interview or audition

Casting

Software: Explicitly converting a variable from one type to another
Showbiz: Employing actors to play parts in a film, play or other production. Also the act of doing same.

Client

Software: The opposite of a server
Showbiz: An actor, specifically in the context of the actor’s relationship with their agent or manager Internally at Spotlight we have both internal and external clients/customers

Client Profile

Software: A subset of the .NET framework intended to run on mobile and low-powered devices
Showbiz: An actor’s professional CV, as it appears on their agent's’ website or in various kinds of casting software and directories

Double

Software: Primitive data type representing a floating-point number
Showbiz: A performer who appears in place of another performer, i.e., as in a stunt.

Mirror

Software: A copy of a system that updates from the original in near to real time, often a database or file storage system
Showbiz: An optical device that helps a performer check they’ve applied their makeup correctly

Principal

Software: Used in database mirroring to refer to the primary instance of the database
Showbiz: A performer with lines.

Production

Software: The live infrastructure and code environment
Showbiz: A film, TV or stage show, such as a professional actor might list on their acting CV.

REST

Software: Representational State Transfer - an architectural style used when building hypermedia APIs
Showbiz: What actors do between jobs.

Script

Software: A computer program written in a scripting language
Showbiz: The written dialogue and directions for a play, film or show

“Sequel”

Software: Standard pronunciation of SQL, referring to either the database query language. Also commonly refers to Microsoft’s SQL Server database product.
Showbiz: A published, broadcast, or recorded work that continues the story or develops the theme of an earlier one.

Server

Software: The opposite of a client
Showbiz: Someone working as waiting staff in a restaurant. Who is quite possibly an actor moonlighting as a server to pay the bills between acting jobs.

Spotlight

Software: The native macOS search application
Showbiz: Our company – www.spotlight.com,  “The Home of Casting” – and the directories and services we have created since 1927.

Staging

Software: A replica of a production hosting environment used to test new features and deployments.
Showbiz: The method of presenting a play or dramatic performance; also used to refer to the stage structure itself in theatre and live performance.

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