In a software product, there is the possibility to define sets of parameters (key, value pairs). The functionality is encapsulated in an object in the code, to be reused by programmers wherever the functionality is needed.

Those parameter sets objects must have a name.

There is a second level of naming: it is possible to define multiple "versions" of the parameter values, each set of values being also identified with a name.

So, the EXPERIMENT parameters set can have fields like:

  • sample name
  • date
  • data directory

There would be experiment 1 with some values, and experiment 2 with different values.

How would you call "experiment 1" and "experiment 2" ?

I came with context, could also be variant or similar...

Indeed one can display the value of EXPERIMENT.contexts and see ['experiment1, 'experiment 2'] and then it is possible to switch to or activate "experiment 1" or "experiment 2" to get updated parameters values for the EXPERIMENT object.

(sorry for the long description but it is not an easy thing to describe !)

Question: would you help me finding better names for the contexts/variants ? And for the parameters set object ?

Thanks in advance !

  • How about instances? experiment_1 and experiment_2 are both instances of EXPERIMENT. And EXPERIMENT is an object. Seems pretty straight-forward to me – jonathan.scholbach May 28 at 12:58
  • instances is not bad, but it is connoted in object-oriented programming. In reality "experiment 1" and "experiment 2" are not instances of "EXPERIMENT" (in the OOP sense). EXPERIMENT is an instance of a class, but the other two are "views" (or similar... this is what I am searching for) of the parameters with different values – mguijarr May 28 at 13:00
  • I know the notion is reserved in OOP, but from a more logical pov, this is still an instance. Other ideas: You could call EXPERIMENT a concept, and experiment 1 could be called realization, for instance. – jonathan.scholbach May 28 at 13:03
  • Context, Environment, Configuration. Not view though. A view is for looking at the same thing from different perspectives. – Jim Oct 25 at 20:34

I would call them setups. From Merriam-Webster:

setup noun


  • A : the assembly and arrangement of the tools and apparatus required for the performance of an operation
  • B : the preparation and adjustment of machines for an assigned task

The definition listed here might have physical machines in mind, but the analogy seems fairly transparent.


In the FHIR system for medical data that would be a codeable concept.

http://hl7.org/fhir/DSTU2/datatypes.html#CodeableConcept for JSON or the java class in HL7 is org.hl7.fhir.instance.model.CodeableConcept;

You can see how it's used for in the Procedure resource for example where they are used to save procedure codes, the body site etc. http://hl7.org/fhir/DSTU2/procedure.html

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