feature


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Related to feature: feature article, Feature story

feature

TV, Radio a programme given special prominence on radio or television as indicated by attendant publicity

feature

[′fē·chər]
(computer science)
In automatic pattern recognition, a property of an image that is useful for its interpretation.

feature

(jargon)
1. A good property or behaviour (as of a program). Whether it was intended or not is immaterial.

2. An intended property or behaviour (as of a program). Whether it is good or not is immaterial (but if bad, it is also a misfeature).

3. A surprising property or behaviour; in particular, one that is purposely inconsistent because it works better that way - such an inconsistency is therefore a feature and not a bug. This kind of feature is sometimes called a miswart.

4. A property or behaviour that is gratuitous or unnecessary, though perhaps also impressive or cute. For example, one feature of Common LISP's "format" function is the ability to print numbers in two different Roman-numeral formats (see bells, whistles, and gongs).

5. A property or behaviour that was put in to help someone else but that happens to be in your way.

6. A bug that has been documented. To call something a feature sometimes means the author of the program did not consider the particular case, and that the program responded in a way that was unexpected but not strictly incorrect. A standard joke is that a bug can be turned into a feature simply by documenting it (then theoretically no one can complain about it because it's in the manual), or even by simply declaring it to be good. "That's not a bug, that's a feature!" is a common catch-phrase. Apparently there is a Volkswagen Beetle in San Francisco whose license plate reads "FEATURE".

See also feetch feetch, creeping featurism, wart, green lightning.

The relationship among bugs, features, misfeatures, warts and miswarts might be clarified by the following hypothetical exchange between two hackers on an airliner:

A: "This seat doesn't recline."

B: "That's not a bug, that's a feature. There is an emergency exit door built around the window behind you, and the route has to be kept clear."

A: "Oh. Then it's a misfeature; they should have increased the spacing between rows here."

B: "Yes. But if they'd increased spacing in only one section it would have been a wart - they would've had to make nonstandard-length ceiling panels to fit over the displaced seats."

A: "A miswart, actually. If they increased spacing throughout they'd lose several rows and a chunk out of the profit margin. So unequal spacing would actually be the Right Thing."

B: "Indeed."

"Undocumented feature" is a common euphemism for a bug.

7. An attribute or function of a class in Eiffel.
References in classic literature ?
When the toil of the day was over, he would gaze at it for hours, until he began to imagine that those vast features recognized him, and gave him a smile of kindness and encouragement, responsive to his own look of veneration.
Full of faith and hope, Ernest doubted not that what the people said was true, and that now he was to behold the living likeness of those wondrous features on the mountainside.
But Ernest turned sadly from the wrinkled shrewdness of that sordid visage, and gazed up the valley, where, amid a gathering mist, gilded by the last sunbeams, he could still distinguish those glorious features which had impressed themselves into his soul.
An expression of pain, and hopelessness, and sorrow swept across his features.
The report of the weapon made the cavern bellow like an eruption from a volcano; and when the smoke it vomited had been driven away before the current of air which issued from the ravine the place so lately occupied by the features of his treacherous guide was vacant.
Jimmie wiped his blood-wet features with his sleeve.
In the description of the principal outrages, reference has been had to the best authorities of that time, such as they are; the account given in this Tale, of all the main features of the Riots, is substantially correct.
At times her fingers played in the matted hair of the dead, and at others they lightly attempted to smooth the painfully expressive muscles of its ghastly visage, as the hand of the mother is seen lingering fondly about the features of her sleeping child.
His vast features were visibly stamped with an expression of deep concern; but at no time did they falter, until he turned his back, as he believed for ever, on the grave of his first-born.
It is not so," said Ishmael, whose usually inflexible features were beginning to manifest the uneasiness he felt.
said Cedric, his features prepared to receive favourably the expected jest.
The youth saw his features wrathfully red, and saw him make a dab with his sword.