The official name for the technology formerly code-named “Indigo,” which is the “Windows Communication Foundation” is taking some time to catch on. I expected to be sharply corrected if I slipped and referred to “Indigo” in the days following the announcment, but I have yet to hear a single person other than myself use the official name, and “Indigo” is all that I have seen in e-mails, too. Of course, it is too long to fit across a PowerPoint slide in any readable font, and it is a little bit of tongue-twister, so “Windows Communication Foundation” will never be the de facto name. “WCF” might become that de facto name over time, but currently, “Indigo” is proving difficult to shake loose.
The new name has an important virtue. For too long, “Indigo” has been thought of as Microsoft’s next generation Web services framework: as WSE 4. While that is indeed ONE of the things that it is, it is far more than that: it is the unified infrastructure for software communication on Windows. By version two, it will all also be the universal infrastructure for that purpose. The new name drives that point home, and that, as Martha Stewart says, is good thing.
The new name has a key drawback, though, which is that it is not cool. I gather that the name was devised in this way: someone decided that the names for the WinFX technology would all consist of three words. Windows Chief Jim Alchin mandated that the first word wouild be “Windows.” That’s fine, because (a) it emphasizes that the technologies are benefits of Windows, and (b) truthfully implies that they are restricted to Windows. For the second word, “services” was a natural choice, but that word is also used to refer to NT services, so “communication” was chosen instead, and, as I say, I think that was a good choice. The final slot was decided between “framework” and “foundation,” and the technologies being named are not really frameworks, so “foundation” is better choice. I gather that marketing whiz Ari “Bix” Bixhorn came up with “foundation,” and like everything else Bix comes up with, it’s exactly right. So, I don’t think there is anything wrong with “Windows,” “Communication,” or “Foundation,” but only in the notion that the names had to be tripartite. Any hope of anything that would sound cool disappeared right there. There are only two words in “Steve McQueen” and “Frank Sinatra” and there is barely one in “Eminem,” “Madonna” and “P-Diddy.” “Panther,” “Tiger:” those are cool names–two syllables, yet less three words.
Of course, I’m just ticked that my “Indigo” personalized plates for my ‘stang have only just been approved after weeks of waiting, and won’t be showing up for another two or three.