Do you haz teh codes?

Code. It’s a fairly simple word that, in a programming sense, is pretty versatile. Code can act as both a verb (I code, they coded, SkyNet codes…) and a noun (source code). The origin of the word is pretty straightforward too, given what a program looks like and what it does.

It also happens to be one of the words that I feel is most abused. Of course there are several “correct” ways to use code in the programming sense, the aforementioned source code being one of them. However, it seems that that the word is butchered more often that in should be, in ways that for me are pretty irksome. I should make it clear that this is just my opinion. I’m certainly not the authority on language usage by any means. That said, lets begin.

“does any1 here no how to make an mmo code?”

This one is probably the single worst use case that I’ve come across, which is pretty often given that I do admin work over at the indie development site I think the problem here is twofold.

Firstly…”an mmo code?” Really? Just one code? I suppose the wording “an mmo codebase” is not too bad in this case, but it still ducks under the fact that treating an MMO, or any game really, as a single unit is not okay. A game needs a rendering layer, some sort of resource and asset manager, input handling, the list goes on. Encapsulating all of these as “an mmo code” seems wrong.

The second issue is more to do with the fact that designing any large scale software project will require a bit more commitment than any of the simple tips for writing “an mmo code” that can be provided by forum users. That’s beyond the scope of this post-rant though, so we’ll move on.

“ya and c++ is the primary code”

This one is almost as bad. Almost. C++ is a language, not a code. Morse is a type of code because it takes things we use, letters, and encodes them into a format that can be transfered easily. ASCII and Unicode are also codes. On the other hand, C++ takes things like words, letters and numbers and allows them to be compiled into something completely different. This something can be used to accomplish a task, play a game, whatever. Maybe our C++ program will even transmit some Morse code over the Internet, who knows. C++ may looks like a secret code if you’re not experienced with using it, but I promise its a language. Unless you’re encoding your entire program in Morse code (I think I’ll try that for the next post), you use a language to write a program.

“I need help doing the codes”

The confusion here is probably because “I need help doing the programming” would be somewhat acceptable. Not as optimal as “I need help with programming”, mind you. I think the biggest problem I have with isn’t the fact that word “code” is used, but the plural on “codes.” We are not working with nuclear launch codes here, unless I’m mistaken. You may write code for a project, but even when talking DRM I prefer the term access “key” or product “key”, as it really is unlocking the program. A program does not have “codes”, it has “source code”. Either way this one’s still got a peculiar sound to it, especially when the spelling is so eloquently expressed as “teh codez.”

I’m sure there are plenty more cases of poor “code” usage, as these were just some quotes I quickly pulled from various programming forums. Maybe I’ve been a little over critical, but it is what it is. Now about that Morse++…



One response to “Do you haz teh codes?

  • nobar

    Perhaps related unanswered question on Amazon discussion for “MATLAB Codes for Finite Element Analysis”:

    Is “codes” a legitimate word or is it just the invention of some ivory-tower professors who think it is the appropriate plural of “code” (as in software source code)? If it is legitimate, what does is specifically mean (and where is it defined)?

    The reason I ask is that the MIT professor Gilbert Strang uses the term repeatedly in his free online video lectures (18.085 OCW).

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