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I am looking for single word or set of few words for the following meaning:

Using software (for example calculating mean of 10 given numbers) without knowing the details how the software internally works for computing the things (for example mean of 10 given numbers).

closed as unclear what you're asking by Hot Licks, MetaEd, RegDwigнt Mar 30 '16 at 21:25

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  • I am looking for more common word used in speaking with negative sense – hiker Jun 26 '15 at 11:45
  • I am looking for the word to communicate with the people who knows little English. – hiker Jun 26 '15 at 11:53
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    Welcome to ELU :-). I think that blackbox is a great word, but if you are set in your opinion that it wouldn't work for you, you can always edit your question to explain which options have you cast out and why - this would help people who are trying to answer. You might also consider our sister site: English language learners in the future - regardless of your fluency if you are asking how to communicate something to a person with poor English language skills, the question should be on topic there :-). Just please don't double post this question. – Lucky Jun 26 '15 at 12:05
  • Please don't post answers in the comments. – Matt E. Эллен Jun 26 '15 at 12:50
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    A user is not expected to "know the details (of) how the software internally works" -- NARQ. – Kris Jun 26 '15 at 15:06
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The meme I Have No Idea What I'm Doing may fit in your case.

enter image description here


I posted this because it came to my mind but abstraction from Tushar answer must be what you are looking for.

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    yes, yes I was looking for the word for the same sense. But it is too much! I want little softer word! – hiker Jun 26 '15 at 12:26
  • @jean I know ;) As I indicated, Tushar answered well about this with "abstraction" – Yohann V. Jun 26 '15 at 12:29
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    Haha. Just saw this. +1. – Tushar Raj Jun 26 '15 at 13:27
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enter image description here
image generated by relikemindia.com

The word that comes to my mind is turnkey:

Turnkey refers to something that is ready for immediate use, generally used in the sale or supply of goods or services. The word is a reference to the fact that the customer, upon receiving the product, just needs to turn the ignition key to make it operational.

Although it generally refers to the product or service, turnkey can be easily applied to the usage:

The end user will enjoy the turnkey operation of our software product.

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The technical word for hiding details of workings is abstraction

In computer science, abstraction is a technique for managing complexity of computer systems. It works by establishing a level of complexity on which a person interacts with the system, suppressing the more complex details below the current level. (Wikipedia)

A user interface (UI) allows users to interact with the abstracted software.


EDIT: Using software without knowing how it works is the way it's supposed to be used. It is not a separate subset warranting a new word. A user who does know how it works is the exception; not the rule.

Almost everything around us, from cars to elevators to coffee machines, is supposed to be used by interacting on an abstracted level. The nitty-gritty of how it actually works are generally known only by the people who create it (developers, in your case).

So, the verb you're looking for is using. The noun, which developers employ for people who use it without knowing how it works, is users.

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    nope, let's say how if someone is using something with out knowing in detail about it. – hiker Jun 26 '15 at 12:03
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    Abstraction is the other end of the dynamic the OP inquires about: setting up a program so that the user can use it without knowing how it works. – ScotM Jun 26 '15 at 12:27
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    @EdwinAshworth You may understand but you are not bothered by the complexity. And abstraction describe it well. (Tushar you have my +1) – Yohann V. Jun 26 '15 at 12:28
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    Abstraction is the case when the developer does not want you to know that information. (eg- source code for some software). The OP however refers to the case where the user should have some vague idea of how the program works. Example- If in a calculator program, I type 2+2, I already know the result will be 4 because I know how the software works; but I do not know the source behind it (num1.getText +num2.getText) sort of stuff or even if its written in C or java or something else.. – Invoker Jun 26 '15 at 12:35
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    @Invoker Abstraction is about : The act of focusing on one characteristic of an object rather than the object as a whole group of characteristics. i.e. focusing on how to use a software and do not pay attention to how it works. Having a vague knowledge about the basic operations inside is irrelevant. – Yohann V. Jun 26 '15 at 13:00
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The word that immediately comes to mind would be :

Script Kiddie.

And although the word is traditionally associated with using softwares written by others to attack a computer/network of computers;

It can be, however, used to describe the person you mentioned in a much broader sense, that is not just tools like nmap but other genres as well.

Defination from wikipedia :

In programming culture a script kiddie or skiddie (also known as skid, script bunny, script kitty) is an unskilled individual who uses scripts or programs developed by others to attack computer systems and networks, and deface websites.

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How about "automatic", or, if the user is very primitive: "It's magic!"

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How about "They are using the software without knowing how it works."

  • yes, I am looking for single word or slang for it. – hiker Jun 26 '15 at 12:29
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    Since 99.9% of people do not have a clue how the software's internals work, there's no special word for it. It's called "using the software" and they are called "end-users". When programmers (or engineers) use a program or a device, without having access to its internals, they refer to it as a "black box". – TRomano Jun 26 '15 at 12:33
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    @jean - the are called software users – user66974 Jun 26 '15 at 12:35
  • @Josh61 yes formally... – hiker Jun 26 '15 at 12:38
  • @jean: the slang word you seek does not exist. – TRomano Jun 26 '15 at 12:39
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https://stackoverflow.com/a/8694874/449347 uses three terms : -

  • Abstraction
  • Information Hiding
  • Encapsulation.

Other answers have focused on abstraction, but I think the other two may be more relevant to OP.

Quoting the summary

... are very different, but highly-related, concepts. One could argue that abstraction is a technique that help us identify which specific information should be visible, and which information should be hidden. Encapsulation is then the technique for packaging the information in such a way as to hide what should be hidden, and make visible what is intended to be visible."

Or to put it another way

encapsulation is most often achieved through information hiding, which is the process of hiding all of the secrets of object that do not contribute to its essential characteristics. — Grady Booch

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