incomplete.io

sortamation

n. The act of partially automating a task, including one-offs or automation tied to a specific environment.

I'm joining the crowd of folks coming up with a portmanteau and claiming it as a new word. In this case, a portmanteau of sort-of and automation. Automation being derived from automatic and operation.

We've all written little fragments of code, or little scripts that help to do things in batch, but aren't a completely automated solution and certainly not a product. For example:

1: #!/bin/sh
2: 
3: LOCALPORT=3128
4: PROXYPORT=80
5: USERNAME=wilbur
6: REMOTEHOST=192.0.2.15
7: 
8: exec ssh -L ${LOCALPORT}:localhost:${PROXYPORT} -R 2222:localhost:22 ${USERNAME}@${REMOTEHOST}
9: 

A valid script that serves a (single) purpose. Hardly bringing about the vision of grandeur that one might upon hearing the word automation in this new DevOps age.

In this overly simplistic example, replacing the hard-coded parameters with documented command line arguments, some amount of sanity checking of the user input and giving the full pathname to the ssh binary all give this poor little piece of code a greater chance of working in more environments than just the system I borrowed it from.

Both approaches are valid, but I suggest we make a clear line of distinction between one-off hacks to get stuff done, and more formal and portable automation.

sortamation.