The question


has been placed on hold as primarily opinion based. I'll have to admit the name you give something is opinion based. However, this has a name that can be cited from authoritative sources and knowing the name actually would help someone find useful resources. It has not been mentioned in the lone answer or the comments.

I would like to answer this question.


The question and my proposed answer are on topic as explicitly allowed in the help as part of: development methodologies and processes

Further, without knowing the right words it's not something easily found by doing a google search. I know it because I read about it years ago. So no, I'm not just googling for the OP.

Edit to preview answer:

Picking just one term for this and writing only about it could easily be taken an opinion based. What I would prefer to do is discuss the singular situation the OP describes. You want change. Change will break things. This needs to be described positively and accurately to all stakeholders. Not simply the users.

  • Users don't care about refactoring

  • Users don't care about transformations

  • Users care about working features

  • Your boss cares about working features

  • Your boss cares about transformations

  • Your boss doesn't care about refactoring

A refactoring is NOT a change in code behavior. If you're adding a feature, you're not refactoring.

A refactoring is changing code without changing behavior. Refactoring will not make failing tests pass. It's what you do to clean up to get ready for change.

Not everyone lives in the rigorous world of test driven development. Indeed we are not all Uncle Bob (or Martin Fowler, or Kent Beck, or...) but if you throw around the word refactoring at least use the term correctly.

A change in behavior is called a transformation in the rigorous world of test driven development. When you write a failing test the next step is to make it pass. That is a change in code behavior.

Outside the world of TDD making a behavior change in an integrated system that will require changes in multiple locations is called a breaking change. It is a transformation whether you do it rigorously or not but that term is not well known outside of TDD. At least it doesn't sound so negative.

But even if the word transformation gives you a warm fuzzy feeling this is still not something users care about. Infact, by even asking the users to think about it you're pissing them off. They don't care about your problems.

That's why when you ask for a term that fits here:

The webpage is _____ right now because I had to make it generic for all products

I'd have to agree that 'under construction' fit's nicely. What I disagree with is the very idea of users seeing the message. Even if it wasn't that term users simply do not want to be told about what they can't have. Rout them to what they can have. Don't show them tumbleweeds that remind them of what could have been.

A website should always be under construction. Heck this answer is under construction. Would an animated gif make you feel better about it?

This is why developing on the live system is a bad idea. Develop on a development system. Use a deployment plan so you can send the whole change, all at once, when it's ready.

That's why the best user friendly term for this is: nothing at all.

  • What name and authoritative source did you have in mind?
    – Ixrec
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 21:51
  • @Lxrec That would be telling. But the guy has written quite a few books on object oriented design. Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 21:56
  • Possible duplicate of What kinds of questions should I avoid asking here?
    – gnat
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 22:11
  • 4
    Demonstrate that this question has a canonical answer. Saying it does but not providing evidence doesn't help your case.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 23:09
  • 2
    No. You're trying to make a case for reopening this question. Prove to me, and everyone else, that this question has a canonical answer. You can do that by providing at least a summary (if not what you intend to answer the question with), in this Meta question. If it's sufficient, I think you'll likely see the question reopened.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 23:15
  • 1
    @ThomasOwens I'm grateful that you sound receptive. I fear sounding snarky but I sincerely find it curious that a question is put in a position to only be considered valid if it is provably answerable while at the same time it's not allowed to receive answers. As if stumping the moderators is a bad thing. Please look this over. Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 23:23
  • 2
    @CandiedOrange: It's not the potential answers (or possible lack thereof) that cause a question to be closed; it's the question itself. Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 0:33
  • 2
    @CandiedOrange: Also, the link you provided doesn't seem compelling. There's a difference between deliberately writing a failing test and breaking code that otherwise works, and the article you linked discusses transformations, which by definition do not involve breaking code at all. Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 0:35
  • 1
    @RobertHarvey I agree that a lack of known answers is not a good close reason. I disagree that programmers is not a good place to learn the terms used in software development methodologies. I've learned a few here myself. Saying, "just google it" is a poor answer when you haven't even told them the words to use. Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 2:30
  • 3
    @CandiedOrange: You misunderstand me. I'm not saying "just Google it." I'm saying "We're not going to help you Google it." Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 2:31
  • 1
    How can you possibly interpret those two things to be the same? Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 2:33
  • 1
    @RobertHarvey because you haven't made your reasoning clear at all. You've made declarative statements. Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 2:34
  • 1
    Let us continue this discussion in chat. Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 2:34
  • 1
    You should edit your information into the question. I haven't read it yet (it's a long post), but the community should evaluate this and see if it changes anything.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 9:48
  • 1
    Thanks. Can I mark your question as my answer? LOL. Anyway, FYI, the sentence I was seeking with the blank wasn't a message on a web page. The code is all on my local. It was a term I wanted to use in a team meeting when giving my status to my boss. Thanks again! Great answerquestion!
    – toddmo
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 15:30

1 Answer 1


We don't provide Google help on Programmers. Sorry.

Instead of asking for word definitions so that he can go find his answer someone else, the OP should be doing us the courtesy of asking about the actual problem he's trying to solve. We're here to help people with their conceptual programming problems, not their Google searches.

If you're still keen on sharing your information, just post a comment to the original question.

  • 2
    I'm the OP. I've been a software developer for 21 years now. It's not on google. It's also not in the Jedi Archives on Coruscant. Therefore, as far as searching goes, it doesn't exist. The net has gaps, just as Obi Wan saw the archive had a gap.
    – toddmo
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 16:41
  • 4
    @toddmo: Why would the Programmers community have any interest at all in being a crowd-sourced dictionary? Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 17:04
  • 3
    I don't know sir. I don't have the nuanced understanding of what this community is here for, like you do. And I appreciate your protection of the site. But, we are a crowd, and for information that is out of reach, we are like water, getting into every nook and cranny. As it turns out, the term is not in the dictionary. Can we crowd co-create new terms so the experience of development can become more articulate?
    – toddmo
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 17:09
  • 7
    @toddmo: We're here to help people with their conceptual software development problems, not to locate words or make up new vocabulary. The latter is the very definition of "primarily opinion-based," and the very essence of bikeshedding. Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 17:11

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