Some Things Never Change In IT

Although I have worked in the IT industry for longer than I car to remember – since the mid 1970’s since I know you are going to ask anyhow, I never cease to be amazed by the number of strange acronyms that exist.

Every so often, when I change jobs or have to use some new software, I come across some new acronyms that I have never heard of before, and the worst thing is that every piece of documentation that I find on that software assumes everyone knows what they mean.

I am used to working on the IBM iSeries (although I prefer to call it by it’s original name of AS400) mini-computer, but recently I have had to try and become familiar with Object Oriented Programming (OOP) which is like trying to teach an old dog new tricks.  It’s just so completely different to everything I have done before.

Although I have used some Java routines before to create an Excel spreadsheet from an RPG (Report Program Generator) program, I have done this by cloning an existing program, and not needed to fathom out too much exactly how it works.

Now, however, I need to do create an Excel spreadsheet that is rather more complex in nature, and need to look more into how these Java routines work.

Having found documentation on this, I quickly became aware of a number of acronyms that meant nothing to me, yet obviously mean a lot to those who work with Java.  When I did manage to find an article on what the acronyms all mean (thanks to my trusty Google), I chuckled to see what a sense of humor the creators had.

The first thing that I kept finding is that the Java implementation kept mentioning the Jakarta Project.  I realized eventually that this was a name given because Jakarta is a city in Java, not because the project had any connection with Indonesia.

Next I keep finding references to POI, which to me mean those pompoms that Maori women in New Zealand twirl around when they are dancing.  In this case however, POI stands for Poor Obfuscation Implementation, and related to this is POIFS (Poor Obfuscation Implementation File System).  Well the whole thing is pretty obfusticating to me…

It’s well known that the format behind Microsoft Excel is pretty awful, and so the next acronyms I come across are HSSF (Horrible Spreadsheet Format), HDF (Horrible Document Format) and HPSF (Horrible Property Set Format).

You think I am jesting?  Just take a look at this article from Javabeat and it’s all for real!.

 It’s bad enough when you have to learn a new programming language, but when the documentation is filled with acronyms that you are not familiar with, it just adds a whole new level of obfuscation.

Maybe I should just make this my word for the day…

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