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Longhorn, Leopard, Indigo, Poseidon, Gran Paradiso, Yukon, SharpFreedom, Supertanga, Revolution, Lightning, Lambrate, Orcas, Q98, Fiji, Pendolino, McKinley.

What does all these names have in common? Apparently nothing... but they are all codenames for various kind of software.

Apple codenames his OS releases with big cats names, Microsoft after places, Firefox with natural parks (next release, 3.0, will be named Gran Paradiso, my favorite Italian National Park), Subtext names are submarines names, Nic's company is naming its releases after cocktail names.

Why is important to have codenames for software release?

Decouple marketing name from the internal name

When you start developing a new product you have to decide a name, the filename. And this must be done a lot of time before the marketing dept decided the real name of the product.
This is also true when releasing new version of the product: the developer team works for the next version named "abcdef", no matter whether the marketing decides to name it v3.6.9 or v4.0.

Give name to sub-projects

Most big product are made up of different applications: a client and a server. Or maybe a core host application, some plugin for the main host application, some server. Are they less important than the complete product? No. So you should name them properly.

Developers want to have fun

So, why relegate them to speak about xyz v3.5?
"I'm working on Subtext Shields Up" is cooler than saying "I'm working on Subtext 1.9.3", isn't it?

How to choose a codename

I think that the best solution to find a codename is to decide a topic or thread, and stay with it: this helps choosing a code name for every release because it reduces the number of the choices.

If you are not creative enough to find a interesting topic for your codenames, here are two tools that will generate Lambrate beercodenames for you:

At Calcium we just decided to give up the boring version number and start using codenames: we are 3 non-kiwis out of a team of 5, so we decided to codename internal releases after non NZers places.

So, the internal name for the next version of the product I'm working on (HotProspect v 2.2) will be Lambrate.

Lambrate is a suburb of Milano, and also the name of a beer produced in a local brewery. I decided to choose Lambrate instead of my birth place (Gallarate) because I spent most of my time in Milan around that suburb: university, my wife's house before living with her, our previous home, my previous job, my current house in Milan, all are around Lambrate (here the map).

And what do you think about codenames? Which topic did you choose for your software?

kick it on

UPDATE: I changed the original picture because I noticed the author had set it to "all right reserved"... now I'm using a picture available under the creative common "some right reserved". The picture of "Lambrate by night" is by pacomì
posted on Wednesday, February 7, 2007 11:39 PM

Comments on this entry:

# re: Codename your releases

Left by Adrian Florea at 2/8/2007 12:02 AM

ho abitato pure io a Lambrate per 4 anni, nella piccolissima via Bardelli

# re: Codename your releases

Left by Duccio at 2/8/2007 12:03 AM

This is not only true for software. For instance Intel uses west-coast rivers for its CPU (I remember Willamette for P4).

Wondering about the most used codenames, I bet there are a lot of "Mordor" and "Tatooine" out there...

# re: Codename your releases

Left by Michele Bernardi at 2/8/2007 2:57 AM

Eh eh! I didn't know you're an appreciator of Lambrate's beer! ;-)
Of course I'm too! ;-)

# re: Codename your releases

Left by Klemmax at 2/8/2007 11:08 PM

I agree with Simone, and I use different topics (one for each customer): e.g. I use great explorers for PDM (who manages data) projects I'm developing for a big italian CoCreate partner.

# re: Codename your releases

Left by Luigi Molinaro at 2/8/2007 11:20 PM

Foreword : I'm a system Engineer, so I want to say that for me "codename" confuse only.
I have experience with many many products and os and trust me, codename will be forgotten and it's very difficult compare version.

Please use only number instead of codename...
Who remember Janus ?
.... Comon....... ok it's windows 3.1
Who remeber Sphinx ?
It's sql 7.0
Last possibility to remember...
You did it !!!! but you will remember in 5 years

i Think codename aer good for internal propouse only.

# re: Codename your releases

Left by Korayem at 2/8/2007 11:56 PM

Hey Luigi,

Your comment only proves that codenames are essential.

They arent here to be remembered forever by everyone. It's an internal naming convention by the developers to refer to what a whole team is working on, temporarily until it's released!!

# re: Codename your releases

Left by Korayem at 2/8/2007 11:57 PM

but I would like to add that I do agree with you that code names makes it "very difficult compare version"...I give you that.

# Utiliza nombres en código para las versiones de tu software

Left by at 2/9/2007 1:12 PM

Que tienen en común Longhorn, Leopard, Indigo, Poseidon, Gran Paradiso, Yukon, SharpFreedom y Supertanga? Todos son nombres en código de versiones de software. En este artículo verás un argumento de porqué debes elegir codenames interesantes para las versiones de tu software en lugar de los secos v3.1415 o v2.8182.

# Subtext 1.9.5

Left by CodeClimber at 5/11/2007 9:21 PM

Subtext 1.9.5

# A Red Moon is rising

Left by CodeClimber at 5/15/2007 3:33 PM

A Red Moon is rising

# Gran Paradiso marketing material: spot the difference

Left by CodeClimber at 6/19/2007 6:40 PM

Gran Paradiso marketing material: spot the difference

# Milan l'

Left by CodeClimber at 6/25/2007 4:24 PM

Milan l'

# re: Codename your releases

Left by Dan at 7/16/2007 1:45 AM

I'm not a coder, but I am thinking about starting my own (purposeless)project- just so I can call it "Overbitter Amyelia" (v.0.1)

Comments have been closed on this topic.