A name to walk with a swagger‏

Author:  Guillaume Laforge | Product Ninja & Advocate

My company, Restlet, joined the Open API Initiative at the Linux Foundation as a founding member, and one of the first few items discussed among all the members was… the name.

For various reasons related to trademarks and such, it’s actually important to find a name that anybody can use freely. There’s already a short list of names circling around, and I liked the idea of finding a name that somehow recalled the Swagger name, in particular a name starting with “sw” sounded like a good idea.

So I went on a hunt for some cool or fun names!

I fired up my terminal, on my Mac, and typed the following command, to find words starting with “sw”:

cat /usr/share/dict/words | grep ^sw

444 possibilities to go through… let’s see if some of them sound fun or cool!

To find a good name, of course, you should certainly avoid any offensive word, or words which are too long, too complex to spell or pronounce. Then, go through the list, and find good sounding words, which should relate somehow to the topic. Make a sublist with those, and check if they are already taken or not — for instance, one of the short-listed names I mentioned earlier is actually a trademarked product from Microsoft, so let’s avoid trademark infringement problems!

Without much more ado…

let’s see the cool sounding names that I liked or those that made me smile!

  • Swaddle: to wrap APIs in a nice definition cloth
  • Swallow: to swallow the pill of contract-first development?
  • Swank: you certainly need a good deal of swank to walk with a Swagger!
  • Swarf: a “curl” of metal swarf
  • Swear: because you swear when you don’t remember the exact syntax of Swagger API definitions
  • Sweat: as you sweat getting your API out the door in time to please your boss
  • Sweet: because who wouldn’t want a sweet API to use?
  • Swedge: for forging your API
  • Swine: because of the cute pig logos you could create!
  • Swab: to clean the wounds of choosing the right Hypermedia format to use
  • Sword: your weapon of choice for the duel of contract-first vs code-first API development

I must confess I didn’t do the last step of checking my list against already used names.

Out of that list, I’d remove the most “common” words which would drown your keyword in Google searches.

That makes me remove “swallow” (I could see people making bad jokes about that one too), “swear” and “sweat” (same reasons), “sweet” (too generic), or “sword”.

The sole reason I had for “swine” was for the cool possible logos, but otherwise, I’m not really finding any way to relate it to the topic of API development.

A “swab” is certainly not very poetic, and doesn’t relate to the field either.

My own sub-list would thus be: “swaddle”, “swank”, “swarf”, “swedge”

Swaddle starts with the same first three letters of Swagger, and has a doubled letter like Swagger too. The shape of d’s and g’s with their round body is similar, and only the direction of their tails differ. It’s perhaps more because of the resemblance of the spelling that I like it, than for the meaning of the word itself. Thinking about it, it might be harder to find a good logo for that one.

Swank is a word in the same vein as Swagger. To keep the same spirit of showing off how cool your API definition is, I think it could make sense. And I would very well see a logo of a dandy silhouette swinging in style, perhaps with a swirling stick in his hand.

I also like both “Swarf” and “Swedge“, because they are somehow related to (API) crafting. And it wouldn’t be hard to find interesting logos as well.

Drilling in a metal piece gives you curls of swarf, and curl is one of our favorite command-line tools to invoke and test our APIs!

Swedge, is perhaps also about living on the… “edge” of API development? And googling swedge for images shows me some nice knives to craft anything, McGyver style!

So what would you think of those names? Anyone you’d favor over the others? Some other cool meanings or parallels you could make with API development?