Why Names Matter

| Tags: dev

When I was beginning to develop Squareness more than a year ago, I also began to search for a name. I knew I would release it someday. So it was clear it needed some name. After some thoughts I came up with “Square”, but a search on Wincustomize.com showed that there was already a skin named “Square”. Some more thoughts and there was “Squareness”. I deemed myself witty back then, because “Squareness” has more than one meaning. It not only describes the form of most controls in this skin - most of them are of rectangular shape, in case you didn’t notice :) . “Squareness” is also another word for “sincereness”. So naming the thing “Squareness” gave it also some kind of sentimental touch.

While the name is as good as any other name I could have chosen, it has a big disadvantage I didn’t realize until it was too late. Try to google “Squareness”. You’ll get my “Squareness”-site as the topmost result, which is a good thing. But the rest is mostly about the “squareness of web-graphics” and the like. The problem is that when I want to scan the web and see where my skin is talked about, I have to wade through tons of sites that simply talk about other square things.

When I started this thing, I simply didn’t think I’d once be interested in this sort of information that is now hard to get because of the naming. I notice for example fluctuations in the amount of downloads of the instances of Squareness.

Normally when I publish a release, it takes some days to be discovered. In the first three or four days it is only downloaded once or twice a day. Then something happens and it gets 20 downloads on the same day, pushing the project’s activity score up to 80%. This holds for some days, then breaks down to five downloads a day and returns to 15 to 20 downloads again some days later. It’s very fascinating to watch this development, though I just cannot pin down any reason for it. On one of my searches for this reason I came across a forum in a language which was neither German, English nor Polish. In a thread on this forum some guy posted three links to three look and feels for Java Swing. One of those links pointed to Squareness. So Squareness has some fans out there who recommend it to other people.

Anyways, there’s one lesson I draw from this. The next project I’ll come up with will have a more creative name. It won’t be a common adjective. Ideally it will be a word that has no hits in Google.