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Posted Jul 3, 2009 20:19 UTC (Fri) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954)
(as in "dependency graph")
Well, it's logical in that sense. The problem would be saying that the graph shows dependencies.
I think of dependency like connectivity and functionality, two other words computer people widely misuse because they find longer words sound smarter. Connectivity is the degree or quality of being connected, so that a mesh network has more connectivity than a star. But "I have connectivity to Chicago" is nonsense. It's "I have a connection to Chicago." Similarly, functionality is the degree or quality of being functional, so "I'm improving the functionality of the word processor" sensible, but "I'm adding undelete functionality" is not. (It's "I'm adding undelete function").
So I think dependency is the degree or quality of being dependent. A graph that shows how things depend on other things shows dependency. But an instance of A depending upon B is dependence.
That's apparently not a traditional use of "dependency" -- traditionally, I think it just doesn't exist. I just find it a logical construction of the word.
Posted Jul 3, 2009 20:31 UTC (Fri) by nix (subscriber, #2304)
"I'm adding an undelete function" is grammatical but does *not* mean the
same thing as 'I'm adding undelete functionality" (one has definite
number, the other does not).
Your statement about 'connectivity' is also nonsense: your
sample "ungrammatical" sentence is perfectly grammatical.
Posted Jul 3, 2009 22:00 UTC (Fri) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954)
"I'm adding undelete function" sounds desperately ungrammatical to me:
the very least it's missing an article.
You don't recognize "function" as a mass noun? Form follows function? Some function is too costly provide? Which half of the function shall we leave out?
You're right that "I have connectivity to Chicago" is grammatically correct, and it isn't nonsense as I said. It's just a nonsensical phrasing for a statement that I have a connection, when there are plainer ways to phrase it. Like saying that what distinguishes a window from a door is that a window has transparency.
Posted Jul 3, 2009 22:37 UTC (Fri) by jzbiciak (✭ supporter ✭, #5246)
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. -- Groucho Marx
Gotta love the chameleon-like nature of certain words in English. "Function" is such a word. In a computer context, it's use pretty much boils down to one of three of its many potential meanings:
In all three cases, the noun is not a mass noun. It makes sense to use an article with "function" in the original example, regardless of which of the two senses ("piece of code" or "role") were intended.
Even in your example, "Form follows function," "function" does not act as a mass noun. In that example, there is an implied "its" in front of both "form" and "function:" "(Its) form follows (its) function." And "its" can be replaced with any possessive: "Fred's form follows Fred's function." "The iPhone's form follows the iPhone's function."
And here we see that the "form follows function" example is bogus. I imagine Forrest Gump would take no issue with "iPhone's form follows iPhone's function," but most people would be more comfortable saying "The iPhone's form follows the iPhone's function."
Here's a better test. When there's "many" of something, we use "many" if it's a counting noun, and "much" if it's a mass noun. ("Many chairs" vs. "much furniture.") So, by means of a concrete example: Would you say complicated, overreaching software has:
I reckon the latter two are accepted more widely than the first.
Remind me what this had to do with filesystems again? I must thoroughly apologize for having highlighted the obscure trivia of "dependences" vs. "dependencies."
Posted Jul 4, 2009 2:33 UTC (Sat) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954)
And with "form follows function," I don't see how an implied "its" fits in there. I think an architect might well say, "I used to think just about form, but now I spend most of my time worrying about function."
But even if a certain feature of a device can't be considered a "piece of function," I can't see how it could be considered a "piece of functionality" either.
Posted Jul 4, 2009 2:48 UTC (Sat) by jzbiciak (✭ supporter ✭, #5246)
At the very least, "piece of functionality" has nearly 100k hits on Google, generally referring individual features of a product or device. In contrast, "piece of function" only gets 14,500, and most of those that I looked at are phrases where "function" modifies something else--ie. "piece of function noun".
Posted Jul 4, 2009 3:30 UTC (Sat) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954)
Posted Jul 4, 2009 9:18 UTC (Sat) by SiB (subscriber, #4048)
Language is supposed to serve people, not the other way. What people use and understand defines language, not the dictionary. The dictionary is supposed to record how people use language. Language evolves. Dictionaries need to follow that change. Popularity is all that matters. (I'm not a native English speaker, but what I said should apply to all languages in use.)
Posted Jul 4, 2009 18:12 UTC (Sat) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954)
Sure, but popularity is irrelevant to the point I'm making.
Language is supposed to serve people, not the other way. What people use and understand defines language, not the dictionary.
Sure, but popularity is irrelevant to the point I'm making.
I agree, but I don't know why you bring it up. While I made the statement above about popularity, I didn't say anything about dictionaries except to say that the dictionary doesn't support my usage of "function."
Popularity is all that matters
Language serves people best by being logical, consistent, precise, and easily expressive. Those are not implied by popularity -- the number of people using a particular phrasing. When one chooses between two phrasings to write, the relative number of times one has heard one or the other should be a fairly minor factor.
Posted Jul 4, 2009 12:12 UTC (Sat) by ajf (subscriber, #10844)
At the very least, "piece of functionality" has nearly 100k hits on Google
Posted Jul 4, 2009 12:26 UTC (Sat) by jzbiciak (✭ supporter ✭, #5246)
How exactly have you invalidated the notion that the relative hit count between two directly comparable alternatives suggests which one is more likely to be correct? I'd be worried if "definitely" got 100k hits but "definately" got 14M.
Posted Jul 4, 2009 16:29 UTC (Sat) by ajf (subscriber, #10844)
Posted Jul 10, 2009 8:55 UTC (Fri) by Lennie (subscriber, #49641)
The provider says: we provide connectivity.
The customer gets it connection and things: I guess now I have connectivity too.
Well, maybe. :-)
PS English is not my first language.
Soft updates, hard problems
Posted Jul 3, 2009 21:11 UTC (Fri) by jzbiciak (✭ supporter ✭, #5246)
In any case, a directed graph that illustrates relationships such as "A depends on B" is a graph of dependence relationships. Whether you call it a dependency graph or a dependence graph, and whether you call the edges in said graph dependencies or dependences doesn't bother me. The former is more standard English, I believe, but the latter is fairly common in computer science textbooks. I try to stick to the latter when using the computer science concept, but I admit it sounds funny.
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