Time-bound and context-bound code

Where the name ‘code’ for a computer program’s source text comes from? What does it mean to say “here is the code for that computer program”?

Following are some associations for the word ‘code’:

    As a noun:

  1. a coding system used for transmitting messages requiring brevity or secrecy

  2. the symbolic arrangement of data or instructions in a computer program or the set of such instructions

  3. a set of rules or principles or laws

  4. As a verb:

  5. convert ordinary language into code

  6. attach a code to

The mainstream association when talking about a computer programming language like Microsoft Visual C# is b). Nevertheless, what many people actually do when writing computer programs is a). Somehow, they have believed that the source text of a computer program must be cryptic and full of assumptions related to certain social context that extend beyond the semantics of the programming language.

For example, a name like ‘dgv’ for a variable which type has the name ‘DataGridView’. Somebody could need the code —that is the logic behind the mapping— in order to get ‘DataGridView’ from ‘dgv’; even if this somebody is the same programmer six months later. A curious thing is how obvious or how smart the code behind can get to be for her at the moment of writing the code. It is amazing how a seemingly smart thing like this code behind could become so unwise with the past of time or viewed from a different social context than the original.

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