Project Naming

By Deane Barker on July 5, 2008

As many people who have worked with me over the years know, I’m obsessed with naming projects.

I think it all started when I found out that the new version of Windows (then Windows 95) was code-named “Chicago.” I thought this was so…cloak-and-dagger. I love Chicago (the city), first of all, and I just thought the idea of some enigmatic name for something was neat.

Dude 1: So, what are you working on these days?

Dude 2: [pauses; looks around furtively; lowers voice] Chicago.

Dude 1: Whoa.

Since then, I’m driven to name everything I work on, which I think gets tiring for my co-workers (Gecko? Rome? You know who you are…). I try to be interesting about it, but the names just get derivative sometimes. I’ve taken to calling things “Trevor,” just to poke fun at my own obsession.

Blend is on a drive to release lots of code, and so we’re cleaning things up and getting them into the wild. Along with this comes the desire to name or brand stuff, and I fear I’m getting worse at it.

I named JetFuel, which I thought was good. But now I’m releasing a series of Ektron extensions I wrote, and I’ve settled on the names of African countries. I released Togo and Senegal, but I’m wondering if this is at all pretentious.

Combine that with the fact that the names of some African countries have some negative imagery associated with them (Rwanda? Zimbabwe?), and I worry that I’m painting myself into a corner.

And when does something rise to the honor of having a name? Togo is a solid app with a good reason for existance and battle-tested code. But Senegal was something I wrote in 15 minutes the other night and haven’t tested it on a production site once.

But, what’s the option? Not giving something a name means it will be forever referred to as, “You Know, That Code I Wrote That One Time To Do That One Thing…”

So, I name things. It’s a compulsion.



  1. Helo Deane, perhaps you can name the Ektron extensions for mountain peaks… the mightier the code the higher the mountain… leaving 15 minute efforts for smaller peaks and the major apps for Everest.

    Robert Yelle | Regional Sales ektron, inc. West Region 542 Amherst Street | Nashua, NH 03063 office: 603.594.0249 direct: 603.816.2016 fax: 603.816.1989

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