Let’s take back the fun.

Over the past few weeks, Microsoft has provided plenty of juicy, new software for us developers: Vista Beta 1, WinFx Beta 1 RC 1. They’ve also announced quite a few name changes. Longhorn became Windows Vista. Avalon became Windows Presentation Foundation. Indigo became Windows Communication Framework.

I don’t know yet how I feel about the name Windows Vista, but it at least has some character to it. But Windows Presentation Foundation? Windows Communication Framework? Who wants to use those products? Why did some of the most exciting new software to come out of the Borg hive have to get boring-ass names? Did developers complain that Avalon and Indigo didn’t sound professional?

It makes me wonder what Word, Excel or Outlook would have been called if they were released today: Microsoft Document Editor Framework, Microsoft Data Table Manager, and Microsoft Electronic Mail Personal Organizer. The whole thing would be sold as the Microsoft Knowledge Worker Productivity Suite, rather than just Office. Would it dominate the market so thoroughly if it had used my clunky suggestions back when there were actual competitors? Couldn’t PowerPoint be renamed to Windows Presentation Foundation?

Furthermore, what “market segment“ are the Windows Presentation Foundation and Windows Communication Framework aimed at that renaming them would be thought necessary? I would think developers would be the ones to use them. Developers use products with names like NetBeans, Resharper and Watir; programming languages called Python, Perl, Java and Ruby. What would you rather use, dear reader: Windows Communication Framework or Indigo? Think of all the time, typing and paper saved if we were to go back to Avalon and Indigo? All those RDs, MVPs, and speakers at the PDC could save valuable seconds of their lecture time, so they can tell us how great the technology is rather than waste time saying “Windows Presentation Foundation.” Those giant bricks that tech publishers call books will be that much thinner if the Window Communication Framework was changed back to Indigo.

We should know what’s really going to happen during those talks, and in those books. We may have Ruby and Perl, but we also have XML, SVG, WMI, ASP, VB and AJAX. So Windows Presentation Foundation and Windows Communication Framework will become WPF and WCF, respectively. We don’t need more three-letter acronyms. In fact, Microsoft may not want those abbreviations. WPF and WCF: don’t they sound like organizations that dope-smoking granolas will throw rocks at cops for, like the WTO? Or maybe they sound like something the US Army is searching for in the far reaches of Iraq? Can a company like Microsoft afford those connotations?

Avalon and Indigo exist to make our developer lives easier. They allow us to write elegant code. Let’s make them keep the elegant names.

Who’s with me?

Update: Larry Osterman, venerable Microsoft old-timer, posts about Microsoft’s product naming. And I thought Windows Presenation Framework was bad. Sheesh!

Update 2: Adam Nathan, creator of pinvoke.net, chimes in on the whole WPF/WCF debate. Check the first comment: someone’s copying me 🙂

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