In our software project, we are quickly gaining a number of small, external programs which are not part of the main program. Each of them has a specific, but limited functionality. We're having trouble coming up with a descriptive, evocative name for them.

What all of these "things" have in common:

  • They have a strictly delineated functionality.
  • They are completely decoupled from the main program, but are rather useless without it.
  • They usually run in their own process, or as a thread in a larger "container" program.
  • They run in the background, typically listening for specific kinds of events and notifying the main program.
  • The main program can start/stop these at will. The main program will typically start one of these, have them run for a while, and then shut them down again once it's no longer needed.
  • The main program communicates with and controls them through some form of RPC or socket-based communication.
  • They do not necessarily need to run on the same host as the main program.

We're looking for a word that denotes a small thing spawned by a larger thing, for the benefit and use of that larger thing. The obvious words with which I can come up (e.g., component, module, service, task, agent, stub, ...) already have defined meanings within the context of our project. Additionally, generic terms such as process, child, or daemon may cause confusion when used to refer to things which are not part of our application.

Example sentence:

Any component (e.g., a service or task module), may require an ________ to be spawned. This can be done either directly by the agent, if on the same host, or by a stub on a remote host.

closed as off-topic by Jason Bassford, Davo, Robusto, Skooba, Scott Sep 8 '18 at 6:10

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  • 1
    Applet? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Applet This question is better asked on a related tech SE instead. – Kris Sep 4 '18 at 8:33
  • 3
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it should be asked on a technical site. – Jason Bassford Sep 4 '18 at 16:32
  • Perhaps helper application. (Or something involving helper.) – Jason Bassford Sep 4 '18 at 16:33
  • Trigger? Because they watch for events to trigger a notification to the main program. I have seen APIs that allow you to register triggers. – stevesliva Sep 5 '18 at 1:36

"Daemon" is sometimes used to indicate a small program that is launched and then left running in the background to provide a service. See Wikipedia or TechTarget.

  • Thanks for the suggestion, but one of the features of our application involves managing system daemons, which is why I'm looking for a word which clearly marks the difference between (system) daemons and "daemons" which are really just a part of our overall application/solution. – Symaxion Sep 4 '18 at 14:36

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