I wrote the letter

Dear XXX,

I am writing to inform that I found the workaround solution for bug...

and got the answer

Great! Ship it!

If I correctly guessed, Great! means approval of my solution, but what does Ship it! mean? Is it slang or some special emotion?

  • 3
    I think that in order for anyone to single-handedly close something as "general reference", they should be required to provide that proverbial single link to the proverbial standard reference. Just saying. – Marthaª Nov 16 '11 at 17:15

There's a (in)famous software development quote, relayed with tongue firmly in cheek: "Hey! It compiles! Ship it!"

In software development, there are many steps a conscientious developer must go through between writing the code and sending ("shipping") the completed product to the end-user. A willingness on the part of the developer to ship as soon as the code compiles indicates either extreme hubris or carelessness: no testing has been performed by the developer (to verify that the changes work and haven't broken anything else), no 3rd-party testing has been performed (to verify that the change doesn't break other systems and is acceptable to users), no documentation has been written...

So when used by someone else in regard to your work, "Ship it!" implies confidence in your abilities: "You're one in a million, man — I have confidence that it'll work as you say it does."

  • +1 I'd just typed more or less the same thing, complete with the "It compiles!" joke :) – Hugo Nov 15 '11 at 23:46
  • 1
    @Shog9: Dude, I really liked your meta post about closing more questions because of general reference. . I'm not sure where I stand on this question (other than I think it is only somewhat general reference, but could benefit by some answer (so I voted to reopen). But, it is obviously in the area of general ref, and yet you answered. Seems kinda weird. By your meta post shouldn't you be discouraging this kind of question much less answering it? – Mitch Nov 16 '11 at 22:27
  • 1
    Heh... You made a good point in comments on that question, @Mitch: I'm on your meta, critiquing your site, and here, closing questions... But I don't exactly have any skin in the game. Then I saw this question, and the lousy, dictionary-link top answer, and thought it'd be a good test-case: I posted what I felt was a reasonably informed answer (something that didn't come from a dictionary or the first few Google results), but left the question alone. If you guys close+delete the question (and I'm not saying you shouldn't...) I'll take my lumps and lose the rep. – Shog9 Nov 16 '11 at 22:48
  • 4
    @Mitch: I think Shog9's answer demonstrates exactly why this question is not general reference. There's more to this phrase than what's in the dictionary. – Marthaª Nov 16 '11 at 23:26
  • 1
    My goal in all of this, @Mitch, is to make clear the idea that it's you guys who ultimately determine the level of quality found here. Not me, not the Community Team, not Jeff... You, the folks here every day, watching the questions roll in. We can point out problems, spend a few minutes closing or leaving comments... But long-term, it's up to y'all to decide what, exactly, constitutes an issue for the site - and what the solution will be. – Shog9 Nov 16 '11 at 23:44

Ship it means deliver the goods. He is telling you to go ahead with executing your solution.


"Shipping" in the software sense means to deliver it to the customer. It derives from the old practice of literally shipping boxes containing disks/CDs in the mail.

@Shog9 had a good description of the origin of "Ship it!", but I think in modern practice it no longer has any particular implication of confidence or recklessness. I have seen it used in several ways:

  • Go ahead and implement the solution.
  • Get it to the customer as soon as possible.
  • (usually tongue in cheek) As @shog9 described, "Who needs to test it? Just ship it!"

I imagine it means Send it to me, by extension of the use of ship meaning to transport goods by ship or by some other means.

  • 5
    It definitely doesn't mean to send to the guy who wrote it, unless that guy is the customer. Most customers would actually say "Send it to me". It's a managerial/dev-lead choice to say to "ship it". – jprete Nov 16 '11 at 1:55

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.