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What's in a Project Name?


We are currently using Marvel comic characters.


At my last job we used house names from George R. R. Martin’s The Song of Ice and Fire series. Who knows if they kept the convention after I left.


We decided to label our final release destination “Chicago”, and each intermediate release would be a city on the way to Chicago from our offices here in Minnesota. Works out pretty well. :slight_smile:


This may be a little overboard, but do you have enough Trading Card Game types over there that you could start naming them after card names, from like Yu-Gi-Oh or Magic the Gathering?

I was using Yugi names for the various public releases during the beta phase of the project. The name tied into the ATK value of a particular fiend at the time (nobody except me probably noticed, but who cares 8^D) It was always seemed to drive up a little more interest when you said that the “Versago Release” (Beta 0.3) or “Kozaky Release” (Beta 0.4).

As for more naming suggestions, Lord of the Rings Characters/Locations are particularly nice. Easier projects get the obligatory “Rivendell” while those daunting ones can have “Mordor” 8^D


We considered a number of different naming groups for system rewrites at my work. I was partial to alcohols (Don Julio, Stoli, Ketel); other groupings we considered included stooges related (tho our servers were already named after 3 stooges and rascals characters), nerd themed (manga, gnu), horror films (cujo, creepshow, videodrome), comedies (strangelove, caddyshack), directors, completely random words (Rate, Arm, Nostalgia)… We settled on martial arts styles. Shaolin, aikido, kendo, judo. Also good for in-house sloganeering. “Shaolin: We beat the fuck out of the competition!” etc.


Since the president/owner of the company likes to fish in his kayak in the Gulf of Mexico (we’re based in SW Florida), our releases are named for fish. Sand Flea is about to be released; Threadfin is ready for release testing. We usually find an image of the fish to stick in our Groove homepage for the release version (each release has its own Groove space).


Surf spots (I guess this is a California thing):



We use a code - e.g. A123-01-01 . It’s supposed to denote “Customer - Project - Deliverable”, but invariably nobody has any idea what the code refers to, and we end up calling it “Customer’s - whatever it is supposed to do”.

And all of our customers start with the letter A. I don’t know why. There’s less than 40 people in the company - I can’t imagine we’ll ever have 26000 customers.


We’ve previously used both IKEA products and made up words - used to send an email round asking for a made up word beginning with “P” and get responses. Most fun was choosing real product names - usually turned into a battle of attrition between programmers and marketing!


I guess I’ve mostly worked for some boring places, but the one big project that my first employer developed was code-named Hydra. It had many heads and when you cut one off 2 more would grow back.

When I was at a rather large Telco in the late 90’s we used natural disasters… Typhoon, Tsunami, Tornado, Earthquake…

Since our actual product names are: ‘The UI’, ‘The Dashboard’, ‘The Reporting System’, and ‘Leagcy Reports’… I think it would be a nice change to actually name our projects (even if they are only internal names). A former programmer of mine named our WebFOCUS project WebHUMPUS…


I dont like it when real product names are acronyms - everything ends up being called DSMS or DMS or VMS or something MS (something something Management System)

Acronyms are so 20th century!


Well, there’s always Ubuntu release naming scheme:

  • Breezy Badger
  • Dapper Drake
  • Edgy Eft
  • Feisty Fawn
  • Gutsy Gibbon
  • Hardy Heron

They tend to go by the adjective for a short one-word name.


“Google Sets is a relevant tool for this type of activity”

I entered the project names listed and came up with nothing (as well as a regular search). I’m clueless - what’s the set?


While I think you need to have internal reference names for projects, particularly since marketing depts like to change the names of things from time to time, I find it frankly annoying when projects are given cute names that have no semantic meaning.

Consider someone coming new at an application, and going to source control, and seeing names of famous artists instead of something more prosaic. Trying to find the project that some bit of code comes from can be confusing and frustrating.

“So Marketing calls this ‘FizzBuzz’, but internally it’s ‘CoderTest’ and it’s in source control as… ?”

“It’s mostly in the ‘Slimer’ project, but there’s a bit from ‘Venkman’ too.”

One should keep long term maintenance in mind, and have some sort of codename-to-functional description tracking; especially if you have projects that are expected to live on well past the average employment time of the developer(s) who originally wrote the project.


“I find it frankly annoying when projects are given cute names that have no semantic meaning”

Heh. I worked on the “Gee Whiz” project once. Only when the project finally died did I realize that it actually meant something, being that the device was, originally, going to interface with the ‘G’ bus on a larger system and was somehow related to the acronym ‘WIS’.


You can use… pokemon names! Or, 80’s/90’s japanese arcade games.


I had shared an idea with a friend for naming servers a while back. He then got a job where he got to overhaul an entire network, so all his servers are named after Transformers.


I use real project names. Just because I know what the project is for when we start. This way I don’t have to rename the names in any docs after deployment or have to remember what name was what project.
As for different versions, I suffix with version #. It works and it’s as close to real life.


I’m all about ridiculous non-descriptive names, and anything with an umlaut gets special attention. I have had projects called berThingie, Figure Outer, Reconfabulationator, and Bjrne (which is also an acronym with the E standing for XML).

I can also name projects as a commentary on how smoothly they are running. Project Icebox and Project Clayton were destined to be ones that required constant attention and headed for a spectacular train wreck, respectively.


“I’d love to hear how people are handling this in the industry. If the project name is Gobstopper does this name appear anywhere in the code/installation/architecture?”

We have a project codename and a standard three-letter abbreviation of it that gets used throughout the codebase, documentation, etc. This means the software is decoupled from the content – design and marketing can change the name of the project multiple times before ship, and we don’t have to go through the codebase and rename anything. By keeping a formal codename, though, everyone knows what you’re talking about when you mention Gobstopper, and where the GobBufferManager class came from.