"Barnacle" code?
May 31, 2006 12:05 PM   Subscribe

What does "barnacle code" mean to programmers?

I'm finding a reference to "barnacle code" in some CFML I'm reviewing. I know what crustacean-type barnacles are, but why the allusion? The comments in the code say "barnacle code to fix an elusive bug" and there's nothing special the code itself.

The term is not in the Hacker's Dictionary, and everybody who knows this code is away....grrrr. Anybody want to take a stab? Thx in advance.
posted by pax digita to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Just means crud stuck on to the code. I don't think there's any deeper meaning there.
posted by voidcontext at 12:08 PM on May 31, 2006

Does it have to do with financial reporting in any way? That's the only place I've seen a reference.
posted by SpecialK at 12:08 PM on May 31, 2006

Best answer: Here's a take on it which is similiar to mine: it's the accretion of code by glomming on bits and patchs.
posted by voidcontext at 12:11 PM on May 31, 2006

(you'll need to search down the page)
posted by voidcontext at 12:13 PM on May 31, 2006

I've seen a bunch of references to "Barnacle" being an individual instance of a group of "Barnable", but I can't seem to trace it back any farther.
posted by SpecialK at 12:14 PM on May 31, 2006

Best answer: Here's one explanation, but like I've said, I see other references that don't agree.
posted by SpecialK at 12:15 PM on May 31, 2006

Response by poster: Hmmmm....I'd been describing this code as "crufty" and now I know an even pithier synonym..."barnacly"! Thx all.
posted by pax digita at 12:25 PM on May 31, 2006

Bolt on big ulgy barnacles on (someone elses) code to fix a small problem or bug, mainly because sitting down to understand what the code does to fix it "properly" is more work.

Eventually, you can't see the original code (coral) for all the (big, ulgy) barnacles that are growing on top. What may have been smooth and beautiful but with some minor imperfection, is now something ugly and to stub your toes on if you aren't careful :)
posted by lundman at 10:33 PM on May 31, 2006

Never heard the term before, but the "ugly thing stuck on to the side" interpretation seems reasonable. Like "warts", but less intrinsic?
posted by hattifattener at 12:50 AM on June 1, 2006

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