Today's term: Syntactic Vinegar

On the rails-core maililng list, Josh Susser dropped the term “syntactic vinegar” to mean the opposite of syntactic sugar: Deliberately making the syntax uncomfortable when straying from the golden path. David throws his weight behind the term.

If you search for the term you’ll find it’s not completely new, but there’s only 60 hits as of this writing. So not in widespread use. We’ll see if that changes.

1 comment

josh susser

I didn't make the term up. As best as I can recall, I first heard it from Richard Rodseth, someone I worked with on OpenDoc at Apple. We were using some ugly SOM/CORBA bindings with C++, and he came up with that term to describe them as the opposite of syntactic sugar. This article by fellow OpenDoc'er Jens Alfke seems to confirm that recollection: http://www.mactech.com/articles/mactech/Vol.11/11.01/LearningtoLoveSOM/index.html Whether that's the first actual use of the term may never be known. While the original connotation was different, I think it maps well to the new usage of unweildy syntax used to discourage use of fringe features.
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