a mail this weekend
responding to my Friday post on Super Tooltips asking a
simple question: "It seems like you introduce every new feature in Office 12
with a code name. Why not use the 'real' name?"
The short answer is: "Because we don't have 'real' names yet."
Where do code names come from? They kind of just get invented. We
make them up. As I explained a few months ago in my post about
call it the "Ribbon", code names for features often pop up organically as
part of designing the feature. In some cases, code-names are dropped soon
after the "official" name is available. For instance,
code-named "Scribbler", but I haven't heard that used in a few years now.
In another case, the original code name for the OfficeArt drawing engine back in
Office 97 was "Escher." It has stuck around long enough that objects
derived from the new graphics engine in Office 12 are called "E2Os" (or "Escher 2
The normal process is that code names exist through most of the development
cycle. Marketing and legal work together (with input from the product
team) to generate "official" names for features which are then rolled up into
the product and used to talk about it. In Office, this generally happens
between the end of coding and Beta 2. (In other words, now.)
Code names for features are just temporary
Back to the original question. Why are you seeing so many code names
exposed in Office 12? Just because we're out here blogging about the
product in detail
way sooner than ever before. In past releases, most of the features
would be under wraps until later in the product cycle. By the time
marketing started talking about the product, all of the official
names for features were ready.
A more open discussion about the product means that more of our internal
processes are exposed. I really believe that this openness
benefits our customers, but it does mean that you have to put up with more code
As "official" marketing names are available, I'll certainly start using them and
let you know how they relate to the code names I've been writing about.
And remember, Office "12" itself is a code name...