Bar

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What Does Bar Mean?

Bar is a commonly used placeholder often used to name variables or other code elements. Arbitrary naming conventions such as this are known as metasyntactic variables.

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Techopedia Explains Bar

The use of bar as a placeholder is derived from the use of another such placeholder: foo. Foo is one of the earliest popular placeholders used in technology. For example, foo is used to name generic variables in a learning environment. As developers continued to use foo, some began using bar as a second placeholder, partially because of the military term fubar, which has a different meaning and connotation.

As a placeholder, bar is somewhat controversial, because unlike the frequently preceding foo, bar has actual meaning in the English language. Many developers who are native English speakers prefer to use placeholders (like foo) with no inherent meaning, such as ack, baz, fum or qux. However, because of its short length, bar meets another common placeholder criteria, as many developers prefer placeholders of three letters, versus longer strings.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.