What Are Slots in Computer Programming?

A narrow notch, groove, or opening, such as a keyway in a piece of machinery, a slit for a coin in a vending machine, or an unused portion of an airplane’s fuselage. Also, the position in an organization or hierarchy in which one is situated, such as a slot for a chief copy editor.

A position in a group, series, or sequence; the place in a program or schedule where an activity is to be held. In computer programming, a slot is a variable width rectangular box that contains a value of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7. A slot can be used to represent the value of an integer or character, and can be represented as an integer or character in a string.

An allocated, scheduled time and place for an aircraft to take off or land, as authorized by an airport or air-traffic authority: The airline received more slots at U.S. airports, allowing it to increase capacity and service.

In ornithology, a narrow notch between the primaries of certain birds that helps to maintain a smooth flow of air over the wings during flight.

A small, narrow opening in a garment, such as a dress or coat. Also, a tuck or fold made to receive a string. A narrow continuous opening in a cable street-railroad track through which the grip on a car passes to connect with the traveling cable. A gap in the top of a door or window that allows a light to be seen from outside. A slit in the bottom of an empty can, especially one for soda or beer, that may be opened or closed to allow drinking from the bottle.

The term slot is also used in computer programming to refer to a memory location that stores data. A slot can be read and written to and from, but not accessed directly. The contents of a slot are stored in a table or list that is referenced by the program. A slot can be configured with various attributes, such as size, permissions, and priority, to control how the information is accessed.

If a gamer reloads a saved game that has been previously won, the slot is placed into a “cool down” period (typically 60 seconds) to prevent players from exploiting the system by using cheat codes and loading saved games after every win. This is designed to prevent a player from repeatedly saving and reloading their games in order to exploit the system for monetary gain.

A custom slot can be created by selecting the Slot Types tab from the left pane and then clicking Add Slot Type. Select the slot type and provide a name to identify it. You can also enable synonyms for the slot type to enable Dialog Engine to recognize variations of the same value. For example, you can map a custom slot type to the value New York City. You can then create a synonym such as Big Apple or NYC that will be recognized by the custom slot type.