You Can Change This Later

I am terrified of forms that ask me to name something. Why? Because I fully expect that once I’ve chosen that name it is locked in forever. This fear drives me to put off taking action in certain circumstances until I am sure that the name I have chosen is just right.

The common scenario is that I have some great idea. So I come up with a working title and start sprinkling that title in various places. Invariably I discover that my working title was lame and so I need to come up with a better name. Unfortunately I can’t, I’m locked in with a working title – hence my fear of choosing a name.

As a purely practical measure I avoid using real product names in code, instead coming up with some kind of tangentially related code-name for namespaces and other identifiers. This works sometimes, but eventually you have to commit.

Seriously – why are so many names that we chose immutable? If I provision a hosting account with specific domain name, why can’t I change the name later on? What seems worse is that the forms that collect these details don’t seem to tell you that the name is irreversible and can’t be changed.

What I would like is some kind of special icon that you put next to text boxes which force you to choose names that get locked in – maybe a picture of a foot nailed to the floor. Or instead – maybe we could actually make our software easier to use and allow users to change key identifiers and instead use some kind of artificial key to identify the data. I’m pretty sure we have the technology to do this :)

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One thought on “You Can Change This Later

  1. Ewen

    Trello.com does this quite gracefully. You can rename a board and any links to the board’s old name still work despite having the board’s name in the URL, which is a handy “friendly” URL kinda thing to do.

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