|lol:> Codenames you'll never see|
Screaming batwings! I've just seen another project codename. After twenty-odd years in the computer industry, I'll observe that codename selection is trending like the stock market -- down, down, down. Year after year, I see codenames that were used less than a decade ago, and yet the naming committees think they've come up with something new. I haven't the heart to tell them their selections have already been used.
Where do developers find codenames?
One source is the animal kingdom. Notable predators appeal to developers. If the public knew how wild our minds were, they wouldn't call us nerds. While most of us wouldn't dream of trafficking with a raptor, the names of birds of prey are at the forefront of our minds. It must be our genetic history. Consider also names from the wild cat kingdom. It could make you sharpen your claws (I wonder how many developers are Leos?) on someone else's class definition.
The fondness developers have for reptiles worries me. Does it indicate that we have those teeny Saurian brains? Anything fast and scaly fires our imaginations, especially if it is from the Cretacean period and has tiny front feet.
For obvious reasons, some names aren't ever selected for codenames. Can you imagine calling your project "Albatross"? Even though the albatross is one of the largest predatory seabirds and very unusual for its ability to survive in harsh conditions, this fearful bird will never fly through the codename hall of fame. (Although I'll admit to working on a project -- or ten -- that should have been named after this noble bird.)
Neither will the "Hyena" laugh its way across the technical savanna, despite its tenacious survival instincts. And I doubt the "Baboon" will swing through the programming jungle. The visual possibilities are just too absurd. The names of rare and endangered species are possible choices, yet no one thinks to name their project "Hartebeest." Neither would we choose "Dormouse." It's just as well -- the press would have a field day with those names.
For some reason, industrious insects appeal to developers, or bugs that are very strange, such as the praying mantis. (The image of programmers praying desperately that their code will work comes to mind.) "Gnat" and "Mosquito" are far too pesky to fly through the executive review board, and besides, they are far too nervous. What about "Flea"? How repellent. If you are fond of insects, please name your project "Monarch" for the butterfly, or "Nocturne" for the moth. At least those names have alternate meanings with positive connotations.
Choices that speak of speed are racecars, famous sailboats, and warships. These names don't worry me so much. I can understand them. Speed and the developer -- that makes sense, and so does racing against your competitors. But the wind whistling in my ears is annoying, and after a day spent sailing, I was totally worn out. I far prefer "Motorboat" to "Rowboat," and "Paddlewheel" sounds like far too much work.
Famous submarines that have survived disaster have promising names, but if I see you in the naval history section of your bookstore, I'll know what you're up to. So, if you must name your project for a boat, make like a Viking and pick a longship. It will encourage your warrior instincts. In the software industry, that's not a bad thing.
On the other hand, the names of small boats just won't do. "Canoe" wouldn't work, and "Raft" makes me think of life-preservers. Let's nix small watercraft from the list, except possibly those long, elegant Venetian boats -- very continental! (If I could only remember what they are called.)
For some time now, I've yearned for codenames that resonate with the sound of excellence, that ring with meaning. After all, a codename's purpose isn't just to keep your genius a secret. It should say something meaningful about your project, and it should have style.
The "Fleur-de-lis" is a timeless example of style and fine design. It has endured throughout the ages, and the royals were fond of it. I'd LOVE to work on that project. Then, I'd be guaranteed an attractive logo on my T-shirt, and I could finally wear my tiara to work.
If you like heroes, and I do, you could name your project "Roland." He was a stalwart defender from Charlemagne's time, and I understand he was a generally good guy. If his taste in armor was a little flashy, I know an interface designer who could take care of that.
"Pinnacle" is another name that I like. It suggests a lofty peak on the one hand, and the highest point of development or achievement on the other. I'd love to name a security project "Portcullis" for the grating of iron that hangs over the entrance of a fortified place. Once you lower it between grooves to prevent passage, you're in a really safe place. That sounds nice, doesn't it?
I'm also fond of heroes from famous historical military endeavors, or perhaps we might name our projects for famous inventors. I'm thinking "Einstein." "Roosevelt" would fit a team of rough-riders, developers who fearlessly charge out to battle their foes.
What about the Old English dialect "Northumbrian? Its traces remain in the English language today. That's a great API name -- a language that withstands time so well that it is still meaningful after eons.
If you have a mythological bent, "Pegasus" is very lyrical. It not only means "winged horse," but also "poetic inspiration" -- just right for an elegantly written piece of code.
If the universe can't contain your imagination, then look to the stars. "Mizar" works if your project has a stellar outlook. It's a second-magnitude star in the handle of the Big Dipper. Very few people will guess what it means. If you choose it, be careful how you use it since "mizar" means "to veil or cloak." What about "Quasar?" It sounds so cool. I like it for that reason alone, and we both know codenames have been chosen for worse reasons.
In your search for a codename, you dare not use "Blair," and certainly not "Witch." Not "Hansel," not "Gretel," and never use "Snitch." Not "Donner," not "Blitzen," not "Rudolph," or "Fang." And, no matter what else, don't pick the name "Flame." If you're thinking of colors, I'd suggest the hue "Blue." Do you think I'm being fanciful? I suppose that it's true.