Foobar

Foobar is a universal variable understood to represent whatever is being discussed.

It’s usually used in examples that illustrate concepts and ideas in computer science.

For instance, a computer science professor may be discussing different file formats. In this case, he would call the generic-example file foo or foobar, then list the extensions associated with the file formats (e.g. foobar.txt, foobar.gif, foobar.exe, foobar.tar).

When foo or foobar is used, everyone understands that these are just examples, and they don’t really exist.

Programmers and administrators also use foo and foobar in a similar context. Files or program s named with foo or foobar are understood not to be permanent and will be changed or deleted at anytime.

Foo, bar, and the compound foobar were commonly used at MIT, Stanford and the Helsinki University of Technology, Finland. Other generic variables are used other places, but only these three are considered universal.

One last note: hackers never use foobar to mean fubar!

Webopedia Staff
Webopedia Staff
Since 1995, more than 100 tech experts and researchers have kept Webopedia’s definitions, articles, and study guides up to date. For more information on current editorial staff, please visit our About page.

Related Articles

Infographic

An infographic is a visual representation of information or data. It combines the words information and graphic and includes a collection of imagery, charts,...

Phishing

What is phishing? Phishing is a type of cybercrime in which victims are contacted by email, telephone, or text message by an attacker posing as...

Photo Editing Software

Photo editing software is used to manipulate or enhance digital images. This category of software ranges from basic apps, which are able to apply...

SOHO Business Solutions: Free Email Marketing Services

Just like big businesses, SOHO (small office/home office) owners can leverage email marketing systems to communicate with customers, partners and employees. Just like big businesses,...

ScalaHosting

ScalaHosting is a leading managed hosting provider that offers secure, scalable, and affordable...

HRIS

Human resources information system (HRIS) solutions help businesses manage multiple facets of their...

Best Managed Service Providers...

In today's business world, managed services are more critical than ever. They can...