Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Getting version numbers and names right is hard

Rant alert! You have been warned!

Managing platform & SDK version names and numbers can be hard. When you want a simplified, public name for these that can be used in marketing and promotion things can easily get confusing.

Let's consider Windows Phone:

Once upon a time there was "Pocket PC"
Then there was "Smartphone" - before it became a generic term.
This was followed by "Windows Mobile"
When "Windows Mobile" (the OS) reached version 6.X it was marketed to the public as being "Windows Phone"
Then Microsoft announced "Windows Phone 7 Series"
This was quickly rebranded "Windows Phone 7"
This first major update to this was codenamed "mango"
When beta versions of the "mango" tool were made available to developers they were versioned as 7.1.
It's been reported that, when it's officially released, what has previously been "codenamed mango" will be version 7.5 and the platform as a whole will be referred to as simply "Windows Phone"

We're now in the position where names are being reused and there are multiple names and version numbers for the same thing. :(

If this wasn't potentially confusing enough some (hopefully well meaning) people have started retagging blogs, tweets, questions, etc. with their own personal preference for the name and sometimes version number.

In a folksonomy it's "folkS" plural!
If you're a single person, with limited, demonstrated, knowledge and experience of anything and you want to start changing what things are called (especially if it's something I care about) please don't. It doesn't make you clever or important and you coudl end up doing more harm than good.
It's also a waste of time to manually retag things when ways to create aliases exist.

Blindly changing things without addressing the reasons why they need changing or informing the people who are continuing to create items with the "older" tag just compounds problems and confusion.



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