I’ve heard this term so many times I just had to ask. With English not being my first language, I didn’t even know what the term meant in general. So let’s have a look at the term first.
What are bootstraps? The things on the side of a boot, looks like a loop. It helps you get the boots on, and you’ll often find them on cowboy boots.
What do we mean by bootstrapping in general? A self-sustaining process that proceeds without external help.
Where does the expression “pull oneself over a fence by one’s bootstraps” come from? According to Wiki: “The term is often attributed to Rudolf Erich Raspe’s story The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen, where the main character pulls himself out of a swamp by his hair (specifically, his pigtail)”.
What do we mean by ‘bootstrap’ in programming? Something (a baseclass, method, API etc) that initially sets up or configures the program, and/or something that ‘kicks of’/ leverages a larger operation with an initial little kick in the butt. A little kick in the butt that gets it going and leads to a bigger action (little effort going in – major result coming out).
This probably sounds a little big vague, and the term is rather abstract and depending on the context can have different concrete implementations – therefore the vague description (although I am trying to limit the description to programming).
Do you have a better description, and maybe even some favorite bootstrappers? And since Stackoverflow links seem to be popular in comments ( 😉 ) I’ll save us some time and add the first one here myself: What is boostrapping?