The Coding Monkey

Thursday, April 06, 2006

When TLA's Strike

One of my favorite quick jokes is to talk about TLA's. Usually when I say something like, "Great, another TLA", someone will furrow their brow a little and look at me kind of strange. That's my clue that they don't know what TLA stands for. I'll then look at them with a smile and say, "That's a Three Letter Acronym". Usually there will be a pause, and then they'll laugh.

TLA's abound in the software industry. My resume is chalk full of them. Almost every worthwhile technology I've ever learned could be described with a TLA. Of course, my current client does a lot of mainframe work. And every day, if I'm not interacting with the mainframe somehow, I have to at least interact with mainframe programmers, or ex mainframe programmers who are now trying to be .NET programmers. The problem is that their TLA's, and my TLA's are completely different.

Several months back I ended up going into a meeting with a bunch of people, some of which were mainframers to talk about a new project coming down the line. They were discussing how it was like "COM", and brought up "COM" a lot. My current client is mostly a .NET house, though we do a little C++, and some VB6. So I was a little surprised when they kept talking about "COM", until it dawned on me that they didn't mean "Component Object Model", and instead meant something else which is unique to my client (which I won't mention because I don't want to divulge anything I shouldn't).

It goes without saying that when this finally struck me, I audibly went "Ohhhhhh... ok. I'm with you now". The mainframers all looked at me like I was nuts, and then I had to explain how I thought they were talking about a different "COM". Of course, because they don't know Windows programming, after I was done explaining, they still I thought I was nuts.

I used to do a lot of C++. I was schooled in C++. It was the first language that I really loved, and I still compare everything I work with now to C++. I also used to write a lot of COM components, especially using ATL. I also did a lot with MFC and STL, but that has nothing to do with COM really. I just thought I'd throw those out to show how many TLA's can pop up really quickly.

Even now, when an email appears in my inbox at my client talking about a problem with "COM", my mind still automatically clicks to "Component Object Model" even though the never mean that COM.

2 Comments:

  • Why thanks for clearing that up for me I had no clue what the heck TLA even was because they never spell it out.

    TAB lol

    By Blogger Lisa, at April 06, 2006 6:36 PM  

  • Try being a developer for the DOD, er, Department of Defense. It's a TLA double-whammy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 07, 2006 4:27 AM  

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