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Re: Hackability

From: Rich <richlevinson_at_gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Sep 2009 11:36:41 -0700 (PDT)

The real meaning of "hack" is really just the same as conventional
English which item b: "to cut or shape by or as if by crude or
ruthless strokes".

The way it applies to programming is when a skilled programmer needs
to quickly develop some kind of functionality which is not readily
available and he/she has access to code that contains fragments of
what the programmer needs to do, thus the skilled programmer "hacks"
out the necessary pieces of code from various places and skillfully
weaves them together with some "glue" code in order to accomplish the
original task.

Originally, programmers who could do such things were "legendary" in
their mysterious skills, but really what it was was simply being
familiar with code bases and code techniques and to be able to quickly
hack together what was needed out of parts from other existing code
bases.

For some reason, the term "hack", "hacker", etc. became associated not
with skilled programming (one could say the programmer was "cheating"
by using someone else's code, but this was generally within an org so
it was really the org's code), but with breaking into unauthorized
areas of enterprise systems thru public or private networks. In any
event, this was simply a public misunderstanding of the word - sort of
like assuming every skilled accountant is an embezzler.

So, "hackability" basically means "modular" design, which enables
others to reuse portions of the code for purposes other than the
original intent.

Why do I happen to know this? 1. because I was there back in the old
days, and 2. because I have a hobby of discovering the original
meaning of words and phrases. I believe I am the only person who knows
the real meaning of "rock 'n roll", but it will not be revealed
here. :)

On Aug 29, 8:55 pm, "Rafael M. Heise" <rmhe..._at_gmail.com> wrote:
> Can anyone explain me what Hackability means?
>
> I'm translating the tortoise manual to pt_BR but I can't understand
> this term.
>
> Could be something like hack+ability?
>
> Regards,
>
> Rafael
>
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Received on 2009-09-08 20:38:36 CEST

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