Jerod Santo changelog.com/posts

The skeptic's guide to interpreting developer marketing speak 🗺️

Gone are the days when we developers were too shy/humble/introverted to promote our warez with the confidence and vigor necessary to draw a crowd.

In fact, we may be experiencing an over-correction. Some of us are selling a bit too hard at times. With that in mind, here’s some help translating between how developers describe our software and what we might actually be thinking. 😉


“Simple”

translation: This solves the single use-case I had in mind and literally zero others. 🙈

“Modern”

translation: I ran git init late last week and your doubts about this software’s ability to withstand the real-world are well founded.

Willy Wonka is not impressed by your modern software

“AI-powered”

translation: You wouldn’t believe how many ifs and switches tangled their way through this codebase. It was so gnarly that I had to train a neural network to refactor it for me. 🤖

“Self-hosted”

translation: Good freakin’ luck. You will spend more time configuring, updating, troubleshooting, and debugging my software than I spent developing it in the first place. Give me some money and I’ll deploy this monstrosity on your behalf. 💰

“Enterprise-grade”

translation: Brought to you by Serious Businessmen® like the ones that were professional enough to turn FizzBuzz into 1300+ lines of code.

“Minimal”

translation: Please don’t go looking for a test suite because I really want you to like me.

A minimalist test suite
The best code is no code at all. Therefore, the best test code is no test code at all!

“Automagically”

translation: I have no idea how this works. Thankfully, neither does anybody else. I’m hoping the mere fact that it does work is enough to impress everyone. 🕴

“Cross-platform”

translation: I built this with Electron. I hear that runs on other operating systems too. 🤞

“Blazing Fast”

translation: I was able to craft the perfect micro-benchmark to highlight only the scenarios where my project out-performs other solutions.

The infamous Bezos Chart has no numbers
Let's hope our benchmarks will at least display more rigor than the now-infamous Bezos Chart

“Scalable”

translation: You’re be better off piping all of your data to /dev/null. At least then you won’t be fooled into thinking it’s stored safely. 🗑

“Elegant”

translation: My coding style is beautiful and this objective, scientific fact has nothing to do with my personal tastes and biases. Even my mom was impressed. 🔬

“Next-generation”

translation: It has more bugs than that lever tunnel in the Temple of Doom.


This is most definitely an incomplete list. If you come across some developer marketing speak and can help translate for the rest of us, put ‘em in the comments and we’ll keep this post updated with the funniest/best ones.

But remember, keep it classy. It’s healthy to laugh at ourselves, but writing good software is hard and getting people to notice good software can be even harder.


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