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[Comments] (5) Software Package Names: Apropos all the buzz detailed in the previous entries, Sumana said the problem with Beautiful Soup is that you can't tell what it does by looking at the name. This is true, but I'd say it's true of a majority of software packages. It's at its worst in commercial software where your package name is a product name and needs to be trademarkable. It's not as bad in free clones of commercial proprietary software, where they can't use the trademarkable name so they take a word describing the software and hack "K" or "G" or "GNU" into it. But I think those names are pretty bad and unimaginative. That may be my bias towards wacky names that stick in your head but (though usually trademarkable) would never make it past a marketing department.

Maybe software packages need subtitles, the way every nonfiction book nowadays has a subtitle that explains the catchy main title in way too much detail. "Beautiful Soup: The Hidden History Of The Python *ML Parser That Handles Bad Input And Provides Tree Traversal Methods".

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Comments:

Posted by Greg Knauss at Wed Mar 30 2005 14:30

But wouldn't using subtitles require that Beautiful Soup 2.0 be named "Beautiful Soup: Electric Boogaloo"*? And, bam!, you're right back in the incomprehensible stew**?

* Following the rule that all sequels must be subtitled "Electric Boogaloo."***

** I am _so_ tempted to write a Perl version of Beautiful Soup called Incomprehensible Stew.

*** Man, do I like footnotes.

Posted by Leonard at Wed Mar 30 2005 14:38

I may call it Electric Boogaloo regardless.

Posted by Gary Benson at Wed Mar 30 2005 20:05

I'm all in favour of funky names. My latest work-in-progress is called "Roll Out The Barrel". "Curvilinear Distortion Correction Tool" would be more descriptive, but man does it sound like ass.

Posted by Anirvan at Wed Apr 06 2005 17:06

Or you could go with the "[Noun Phrase]: The [Expanded Description] That Changed the World" pattern, as described in the Guardian --leaving us with "Beatiful Soup: The Flexible HTML Parser that Changed the World."

Posted by Tomble at Mon Apr 11 2005 21:11

Outlook Express is a program for controlling webcams that point out of train windows. Microsoft Office is a small squishy program that forwards jokes to your friends and usually stops working after 5pm. Windows XP is designed to make you screw up your face in disgust. And despite being a programmer (of sorts), I didn't know WTF "Access" was until a couple of months ago. Hey, I use Linux...

Meh, personally I find coming up with names for projects to be something of a drain on my imagination. Even if you can come up with something decent, there's a chance some other sod's already taken it. Look at the Firehamster nonsense- and I remember when "XForms" was a GUI toolkit, not some XML thingy.

BTW Leonard, "Electric Boogaloo"? Come on, you *know* that was the name of one of the gods of Porrog!

...you don't?! Ah, stuff ya then ;)
(BTW: A "preview" button'd be nice here! :)


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