Is there a term for unimplemented code that was written for someone else to fill in?

Sometimes in a programming exercise, boilerplate generation, putting guide rails around the tasks for a junior programmer to implement, etc., it happens that the programmer is presented unimplemented code and told to “fill in the blank.” For example, a unit test that may compile, but fails, or a class declaration with empty methods.

Is there a common term for this practice?


You are referring to a stub or skeleton:


This is typically a method or function with a mostly-empty body that simply returns a dummy value so code will compile.


This is a method that has a high-level algorithm implemented, but individual parts are left unimplemented. They may be empty code blocks, or reference stub methods (see above) that will eventually perform subtasks. This is a good way to express a software design for a junior programmer who may struggle with the larger design effort, or for making sure you have the algorithm correct before investing too much time in the low-level details.

The practice of using these code elements would be called stubbing or creating a code skeleton.


I’ve seen the term “stub” being used.

For example, I believe that Eclipse automatically inserts a comment

String getName() {
    // TODO: Auto-generated method stub
    return null;

into its infamous auto-generated, well, stubs.

Also note the usage of the term “stub” in the context of unit testing.


In Visual Studio, when writing code intellisense will give you the option “generate a new method stub”. When you choose this option, Visual Studio will generate a stub/skeleton of code exactly as you have described.

Microsoft refers to this as a stub, so I would also call these stubs.

Trả lời

Email của bạn sẽ không được hiển thị công khai. Các trường bắt buộc được đánh dấu *