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BOILERPLATE

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BOILERPLATE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:54 pm

• boilerplate •


Pronunciation: boy-lêr-playt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. Plate steel used in making boilers. 2. Material received by publishing companies in plate or mat form ready to be printed. 3. A fixed, invariable text used repeatedly no matter what the context or the stereotypical style of writing used for such text.

Notes: Today's Good Word may be used as both a count and mass noun, just as the word text may be. (Count nouns have plurals; mass nouns do not.) Publishing houses may run many boilerplates, such as advertisements, in their various publications. However, you can also write boilerplate or paste boilerplate (no plural) in a contract, referring to a stereotypical style of writing.

In Play: Boilerplate in its most widely used sense now refers to stereotypical text used repeatedly, often implying insincerity: "Marge will give you the qualifications for the new employee: puff it up with some boilerplate about how wonderful it is to work here and put it in the papers." Lawyers use a lot of boilerplate since contractual relationships tend to be stereotypical: "I need a boilerplate contract that binds employees body and soul to the company so long as they breathe."

Word History: Today's Good Word is a contribution of the newspaper industry in the days when papers were typeset on linotype machines. Linotype machines set preformed chunks of metal, each bearing one letter, in channels that formed lines of print. When a complete page was finished, the filled channels were used as a mold for a large plate containing a whole page of print. The plate was attached to a drum that rotated to print the newspaper. Sometimes solid blocks of print that could not be altered in any way and were used over and over, say an advertisement or a staff listing, were incorporated among the channels. These were called boilerplates and their fixed, reusable content gave today's Good Word its meaning. (We aren't going to use a boilerplate 'thank-you' to express our gratitude to Don McCormick for suggesting today's provocative Good Word.)
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Re: BOILERPLATE

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:22 am

I identify with many of the Good Doctor's Good Words. Today's word has a special significance to my life and work. As a systems engineer on massive government projects I had boilerplate galore. Without it I would never have been able to write the thousands of pages it took to define and execute a government project. I am grateful for boilerplate.
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Re: BOILERPLATE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:26 am

Now replaced by copy and paste.
Or more exactly, select, copy and paste.
pl
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Re: BOILERPLATE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:29 am

And right after I posted that I remember that computer programers regularly use a form of boilerplate so they don't have to re-compile code they use repeatedly.
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Re: BOILERPLATE

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Feb 16, 2013 2:40 am

Software boilerplate is sometimes called a procedure and sometimes called a subroutine. I think there is another name for software boilerplate, but memory doesn't serve me. Does anyone else know the word?
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Re: BOILERPLATE

Postby MTC » Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:01 am

In a legal context a court may strike onerous one-sided "boilerplate" language in form contracts.

"Boilerplate refers to the standardized, formal language in a contract or legal document that is often located in fine print at the bottom of a page. A person is bound by the terms in the boilerplate language upon signing the document, even if the person didn't read it. This has led to the voiding of contracts in some instances based upon mistake of fact.

Boilerplate language in consumer contracts has been subject to criticism and some courts will void such contracts ("Contracts of Adhesion") based on unconscionability when the terms are too one-sided in favor of the seller. Boilerplate clauses can usually be avoided by being crossed out or the addition of invalidating language."

(http://definitions.uslegal.com/b/boilerplate/)

The underlined sentence is incorrect because consumers can not "usually" cross out or add language to a standard from contract. Such contracts are presented on a "take it or leave it" basis. In reality the consumer has no bargaining power. Consumers stick to the contract the way flys stick to fly paper which gives "Adhesive" contracts their name.

In a leading case, a contract for the sale of furniture contained boilerplate payment plan language:

"The payment plan contract was written so that none of the furniture was considered paid for until all of it was paid for. When the plaintiff failed to make payments on the last furniture item, the furniture store attempted to repossess all of the furniture, not just the last one purchased."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconscionability)
The court struck the boilerplate payment provision as unconscionable.

Much more could be said about legal boilerplate, Contracts of Adhesion, unconscionable terms, and remedies by the court, but I thought you would appreciate a taste.
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Re: BOILERPLATE

Postby misterdoe » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:29 am

Philip Hudson wrote:Software boilerplate is sometimes called a procedure and sometimes called a subroutine. I think there is another name for software boilerplate, but memory doesn't serve me. Does anyone else know the word?


Function? I know that in Wordpress templates it's recommended that any PHP function that could be used by multiple template files should instead be added to the FUNCTIONS.PHP file so it only gets written once and called when needed, rather than writing it over and over in different templates.
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Re: BOILERPLATE

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:14 am

My 1960s software experience apparently does not equip me to engage in this conversation. Misterdoe's reply leaves me as stranded as a beached whale. I wish today's software experts well.
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Re: BOILERPLATE

Postby misterdoe » Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:34 am

Sorry about that, Philip. It's the same general idea, I think, as what you were asking about. I recall functions from as far back as 1980s BASIC programming (or BASICA, or QBasic, or QuckBasic, etc.): write it once, then call it when needed, rather than writing the same code over and over again in different parts of the program.

Believe me, I'm no programmer. I'm just good at sounding like I know what I'm talking about. :lol:
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