Wednesday, December 23, 2009

You weren't there that day for the Naming of Things

Naming things at work is hard. I mean, and at home, and everywhere. Say I'm working on a project to resize videos (to pick some random thing out of the air)- what should I call it? Video Resizer? Video Shrinker? I'm sure these are both taken. Or if it were an XML parser, or whatever: I'm sure every single configuration of the words "xml", "parser", "interpreter", "understander", etc is also taken. It gets worse when you have to name every class you write, every binary you make, every concept you think about ("this project frings the glorbs. no, it doesn't really fring them, it first slarfs them and then it frings them, so it's really a GlorbSlarferAndFringer").

The internet hit this problem with domain names, kind of. And links. A temporary solution: everyone uses url-shortened links. Instead of "hey go to (long website name)" it's "go to this bitly link". What if we did the same thing at work? Every project, every idea, every time you need an abstract name for something simple, you just pick a short, recognizable word with no attachments. I need a binary to connect to this DB and slurp out this information and send it to a server somewhere? Call it "Whortle". I'm sure there's nothing at work called "whortle." How about something to read in a feed of some data and compute some thing for each account? "Polyrhythm". Then there's a globally-accessible dictionary somewhere that tells you what these things mean.

Better yet, invent a set of nonsense words. Or use Pokemons.

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