‘Hackterms’ Is Like Urban Dictionary for Tech Pros

It’s going to happen: At some point in your professional career, you’re going to feel stupid, and it’s going to be because you forgot some simple term. A fun new site named Hackterms may be able to help you avoid this common problem, though.

The aptly named forum defines itself as “a crowdsourced dictionary of coding terms,” which is precisely what it is. Serving as a sort of wiki for coding language, it’s definitely worth bookmarking. We liken it to the Urban Dictionary without the weird, foul or downright troubling definitions you’ll see there.

On one hand, Hackterms is great for those learning to code. Programming is full of jargon and self-inflicted nomenclature wounds. Web searches are always a useful tool, but those can lead to more confusion. Hackterms returns plain-speak explanations for terms such as ‘Node.js’ or ‘MVC.’ And if you think, “Haha who wouldn’t know what Node is?!”, we’ll point out it’s at the top of the trending list as this article is written.

Hackterms

Hackterms

Hackterms encapsulates both the mundane and excruciating. Terms such as ‘computer language’ and ‘GitHub’ are defined. So are ‘memoization’ and ‘rubber duck debugging,’ terms many would scratch their heads at.

In doing a quick spot-check on Hackterms’ more obscure definitions, I’ll subjectively say the crowdsourced definitions are far easier to grasp than Wikipedia or general web searches. Written by developers and engineers who probably have to explain these terms regularly seems to be a winning strategy.

Hackterms is probably best for those learning to code or at least a new language, but it’s nowhere near complete. Its list suggests there needs to be better adoption by some communities, too. A search for ‘Swift’ or ‘Objective-C’ yields nothing, which tells us the iOS developer community hasn’t yet caught wind of Hackterms. Similarly, technical debt is listed as ‘tech debt,’ which is not how I’ve ever heard it referred to, so some nuanced searching might be required.

But, for those times code review gets you an ‘lgtm’ response that makes your heart skip a beat, it’s nice to have a site to remind you it just means ‘looks good to me’ and you didn’t screw anything up.

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