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Voodoo programming

Voodoo programming (a term derived from George H. W. Bush's 'voodoo economics') is using a programming device, system or language which you don't fully understand, the implication being that the end result shouldn't actually work, or you won't know why it works if it does work. It can also apply to doing something which you know shouldn't work, but actually does work, such as recompiling some code which refuses to compile the first time.

The definition from FOLDOC via the Jargon File version 2.4.2 (used by permission) reads:

[from George Bush's "voodoo economics"]

  1. The use by guess or cookbook of an obscure[?] or hairy[?] system, feature, or algorithm that one does not truly understand. The implication is that the technique may not work, and if it doesn't, one will never know why. Almost synonymous with black magic, except that black magic typically isn't documented and nobody understands it. Compare magic, deep magic[?], heavy wizardry[?], rain dance, cargo cult programming, wave a dead chicken, SCSI voodoo.
  2. Things programmers do that they know shouldn't work but they try anyway, and which sometimes actually work, such as recompiling everything.



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