Re: What does "persist" really mean ?

Eric Sosman <esosman@ieee-dot-org.invalid>
Wed, 30 Jul 2008 07:42:28 -0400
S?bastien de Mapias wrote:

If I check Spring's doc of HibernateTemplate save(Object) method,
it says that it "persists the given transient instance". What does
this mean ??

     It is a misuse of English, which may create obstacles to
understanding for people who have learned English formally,
perhaps as a second language.

     "To persist" means to continue, to remain, to endure,
especially in the face of opposition or adversity. "Despite
universal scorn, the fake Lew persists in posting drivel.
May he be inflicted with a toenail fungus that persists no
matter how many drugstore remedies he tries."

     However, "persist" is an intransitive verb, one that
takes no direct object. In this it is like "exist" and
many other verbs: You do not say "My program exists many
objects," but you might say "My program creates many objects"
or "Many objects exist in my program." Similarly, it is
incorrect to say "My program persists an object," because
it would be like saying "My program falls an object."

     We might say that save() "Stores the transient instance
in a form that persists beyond the lifetime of the JVM," but
that's a lot of words. The transitive (ab)use of "persist"
has arisen as a shorthand for longer phrases of this kind;
"to persist something" has come to mean "to record something
in persistent storage," if only in the linguistically sloppy
world of computerdom.

     On behalf of English speakers, I apologize for the

Eric Sosman

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