[ProgClub programming] Metasyntactic variable
stuart at bistrotech.net
Fri Nov 18 00:36:54 AEDT 2016
Is this the list?
Metasyntactic variables used in the United States include foobar, foo, bar,
baz, qux, quux, corge, grault, garply, waldo, fred, plugh, xyzzy, and
thud. Wibble, wobble, wubble, and flob are used in the UK.
I commonly use foo, bar, baz, quux, and quuz (the last being the only one
not on the list). I don't recall ever seeing any of the others in ~20 years
On Nov 17, 2016 3:18 AM, "Bryn Davies" <curious.jp at gmail.com> wrote:
> Is anyone using anything as a metasyntactic variable that isn't on this
> I must admit a bit of a weakness for "blep".
> On 16 November 2016 at 16:55, John Elliot V <jj5 at progclub.org> wrote:
>> TIL: Metasyntactic variable
>> "A metasyntactic variable is a placeholder name used in computer
>> science, a word without meaning intended to be substituted by some
>> objects pertaining to the context where it is used. The word foo as used
>> in IETF Requests for Comments is a good example.
>> "By mathematical analogy, a metasyntactic variable is a word that is a
>> variable for other words, just as in algebra letters are used as
>> variables for numbers. Any symbol or word which does not violate the
>> syntactic rules of the language can be used as a metasyntactic variable.
>> For specifications written in natural language, nonsense words are
>> commonly used as metasyntactic variables.
>> "Metasyntactic variables have a secondary, implied meaning to the reader
>> (often students), which makes them different from normal metavariables.
>> It is understood by those who have studied computer science that certain
>> words are placeholders or examples only and should or must be replaced
>> in a production-level computer program.
>> "In hacker culture, "metasyntactic variable" has come to denote some
>> typical (otherwise meaningless) words used as metavariables in
>> computing; see reification. For example, The Hacker's Dictionary (1st
>> ed.) defined FOO as "the first metasyntactic variable" and BAR as "the
>> second metasyntactic variable", explaining that "When you have to invent
>> an arbitrary temporary name for something for the sake of exposition,
>> FOO is usually used. If you need a second one, BAR or BAZ is usually
>> used; there is a slight preference at MIT for bar and at Stanford for
>> baz. Clearly, bar was the original, for the concatenation FOOBAR is
>> widely used also, and this in turn can be traced to the obscene acronym
>> 'FUBAR' that arose in the armed forces during World War II. [...] A
>> hacker avoids using 'foo' as the real name of anything. Indeed, a
>> standard convention is that any file with 'foo' in its name is temporary
>> and can be deleted on sight." The names of these consecrated
>> "metasyntactic variables" are also commonly used as actual identifiers
>> (for variables, functions, etc.) in tutorial programming examples when
>> their purpose is to emphasize syntax; in this usage, "metasyntactic
>> variable" is synonymous with "meaningless word"."
>> ProgClub: because every programmer needs a good club!
>> John Elliot V is creating Free Software and Open Communities:
>> ProgClub programming
>> programming at progclub.org
> "And let us consider again, that all the law is not in the hand of Giant
> Despair: others, so far as I can understand, have been taken by him as well
> as we, and yet have escaped out of his hands."
> ProgClub programming
> programming at progclub.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the programming