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Rant about "Intellisense" (the term)

Am I the only one who gets annoyed whenever someone uses the term "Intellisense" as a generic term for auto-completion? It's quite clearly a trademarked word, created by one particular vendor to use in a bulleted list of features to sell their IDE. I'm not saying that I'm inherently opposed to trademarked terms becoming genericized, like Xerox and Band-Aid. But rather, "Intellisense" in particular is a stupid sounding term, that reeks of marketing speak. The word itself is meaningless unless you already know what it refers to. I'm baffled that it has become genericized among programmers. It makes me cringe whenever I see it. Why to people use it instead of the more straightforward and meaningful "auto-complete"?
Karl von L. Send private email
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
 
 
I was always partial to "completion." 

As in "Nice IDE. It includes all the basics: syntax highlighting, completion, and simple refactorings."
Jimmy Banks
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
 
 
I understood "intellisense" to include the pop-up that shows options as you type.  That's how it works in the IDE that has that trademarked feature, right?  So it is something more than just auto-completion.

It also includes (if I understand correctly) the ability to trace dependencies and recognize user-defined functions within the current context.  I believe Eclipse also does this, but Vim doesn't.  So no, it's not just auto-completion.
Drew K
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
 
 
Yes. You are the only one annoyed by the use of the term.
Here, have a Kleenex(tm).
;)
getBent( )
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
 
 
I suspect because "auto complete" doesn't really capture what happens, at least from my perspective.  I think of 'auto completion' as a single step process to shortcut data entry for a specific phrase, such as a filename in a command shell.

"Intellisense" is more than just completing a function call, but is also a way to get a list of method parameters and other associated metadata.  In some languages/IDEs, you even get documentation popups all automatically presented as you type.

The concept is broader and a more accurate term, or a new word (i.e. 'Intellisense' ) is needed.  I don't particularly think "Intellisense" actually has much semantic value in and of itself, I suspect it is just a convenient label.

I just now checked Eclipse, and Eclipse calls the functionality "Content Assist", which seems to me to be semantically closer to what is going on than "auto complete".
Dan Fleet Send private email
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
 
 
Jimmy Banks - I was always partial to "completion."

Huh huh huh.  I'm afraid as a smutty English guy, that phrase is forever associated with that Ken Starr guy going on about Bill and Monica.  As in "Oral Sex was performed to completion"
Partial to it too... Send private email
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
 
 
"Am I the only one who gets annoyed whenever someone uses the term "Intellisense" as a generic term for auto-completion? "

Probably not, but there are bigger things to worry about, in my opinion. 

Are you also one of those people who also gets upset when people ask for a "Kleenex" when it's clearly a generic tissue?  Or when someone asks you to get a copy at the "Xerox" machine, when it's clearly a Kyocera?  Or when someone asks for a "Band-Aid" when all you have are generic plastic bandages? 

To most people using this sort of "genericized" major trademark is no big deal.  It's one of the wonders of language.  Join in and have fun.
Herbert Sitz Send private email
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
 
 
In our workplace we have a custom Windows Forms control that's basically just a normal dropdown which opens with a function key.

It's called an "Intellisense" control.  It doesn't even auto-complete anything, but since it's Intellisense uses a similar interface, that's what they called it.

Amazing.
codemonkey
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
 
 
s/it's Intellisense/Intellisense
codemonkey
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
 
 
"I'm not saying that I'm inherently opposed to trademarked terms becoming genericized, like Xerox and Band-Aid. But rather, "Intellisense" in particular is a stupid sounding term, that reeks of marketing speak."

Are you saying that you can't imagine that at one time, say during their process of becoming a generic term, people maybe thought the same way about 'xerox' and 'band aid' that you do about 'intellisense'?

You can't get there from here without some growing pains in the middle.
Rob Moir Send private email
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
 
 
What are you talking about. Intellisense is an amazing word. It doesn't even sound awkward. It sounds like something cool.
"Hey, look, there's intellisense!"  Like some robotic doodad from the year 2050.


But auto-completion actually DOES sound awkward. And its longer and has more syllables.
Dr.ISV
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
 
 
everyone knows its really called M-x dabbrev-expand
jk
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
 
 
'Why to people use it instead of the more straightforward and meaningful "auto-complete".'

IMO the term autocomplete is less straightforward. The term autocomplete implies completion of something that was started by the user.

Intellisense on the other hand is the sum of every feature that lets your code reflect itself while you're typing it in.

When you put your cursor over a symbol in your code and a tool-tip pops up to tell you that the symbol is an object of the type "XYZ", that's Intellisense. In other words, Intellisense doesn't just consist of the popup combo...
Wayne B Send private email
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
 
 
to Partial To It Too...

If 'completion' refers to Bill and Monica, would 'autocompletion' be what happens to almost every boy while asleep from time to time during his teenage years?

Karl, all words are meaningless unless you know what they mean. Whether they are what you would consider 'real words' or 'marketing speak'. It's a pretty widely accepted term. Cringe all you want. I cringe every time I see the word 'proctologist' and the phrase 'breast reduction surgery'.

Personally I think Intellisense is a band-aid solution to the problem that most libraries and classes have too many methods and properties. The only alternative is to xerox the whole damn manual and then memorize it, but that would probably take more landfill space than all the pampers I've tossed in the trash from my two kids when they were babies. I suggest a tylenol if the term gives you a headache. I have to go Google for a meaningful replacement for the phrase 'search on the web'.
Bart Park
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
 
 
I agree, Intellisense does sounds cool, and auto-complete sounds akward

Tuesday, February 27, 2007
 
 
While I want to agree with your point as MS is famous for implementing standard concepts and giving them a new name (ex: "method" instead of "function") but unfortunately Intellisense IS NOT the same thing as auto-completion.

Auto-Complete - Works best when there is one possible answer (otherwise you have to keep hitting the keycode to cycle all the choices).  Traditionally does not function on a property level but more so as a word completion.

Intellisense - a substantially more advanced auto-complete that gives a object specific list that lets you choose what completion you want (very multi-choice friendly) including your own homemade objects.  Heck VS will even give you a mini explanation of what said completion does via XML comments.

I guess if you want to split hairs, intellisense is just a very fancy auto-complete.  But I have to agree with MS that they made substantially changes to auto complete to coin a term out of it.  I think somebody has been drinking too much anti-MS cola today.
TravisO Send private email
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
 
 
Too bad about the genericizing of brand names. I have no problem with people [mis]using Intellisense because:

1. It ain't my brand, so I'm not losing any money over it;
2. I know what they're talking about when they say it, and it saves me time not to call attention to or otherwise be distracted by what is neither interesting nor incorrect.

Besides, "auto-completion" can mean something distinct from the kind of thing IntelliSense does. "Auto-complete" can mean automatically finishing my typed words, whereas IntelliSense always means popping up a list control of some kind, depending upon context, and permitting me to select from the choices in it. The distinction may be minor, but the one thing IntelliSense *doesn't* do is complete any words unless I choose for it to do so.
Paranoid Android Send private email
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
 
 
>While I want to agree with your point as MS is famous for implementing standard concepts and giving them a new name (ex: "method" instead of "function")

Is that a joke?  Method is an OOP term, not a Microsoft term.
Chris Nahr Send private email
Thursday, March 01, 2007
 
 

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