May 2007
in my profession,
brevity is key.

the frequent use of abbreviation in source code serves two purposes:
1) it makes typing easier;
2) it helps us fit more into a smaller visual space, emphasizing structure over fine detail.

this is why vowels are often dropped:
wrds cn b rckgnzed wth vry few ltrs.

yet the most important variable,
the most common,
is i:

the name i is short for the latin iterum,
meaning again.
generally, i is not bound to a single value
but many in succession --
and so on.

 i  is a number; a stage of processing, an index into a population.
its principal purpose is to represent something else.
it may stand for anything, and everything.
it counts,
but does not count.

recently, in some languages,
i's ubiquity has been challenged by a variable which represents "the thing currently being manipulated".
this thing is often called
or, self.

the use of this is so crucial in these languages
that often the variable can be eliminated entirely,
abbreviated into nothingness --
this (we say) is implicit.
this is understood.

so when reading these texts,
you must always keep in mind who is speaking at the moment:
because lurking behind every verb and object
is the invisible unwritten subject,
the self.

is understood.