Coffee mug with a message that reads "Nondescript Coffee Receptacle"

The 1996 version of me would never believe 2012. I've got Linux on my cell phone, we have an African-American (and Chicagoan!) president, but most improbably, I'm preoccupied by software projects centered around a language I used to loathe: JavaScript.

As cool as JavaScript projects can be, you'd never know it from their names. Is it a competition to see who can come up with the least interesting moniker? An unconscious tribute to the 'Self' language, one of JavaScript's original inspirations? Or maybe nobody puts much thought into naming, choosing to channel their creativity into their code?

While pondering that, I came up with my top 11 favorite nondescript JavaScript project names:

11. Prototype

This is the one that got the ball rolling. Named after a universal JavaScript object property, Prototype was the first serious JavaScript library you probably ever used (let's pretend those "disable right-click so people can't steal your precious images" scripts never happened). jQuery may have displaced Prototype in the web developer's toolbox, but its dreary, Google-hostile name choice continues to inspire.

10. Node

Server-side JavaScript was going nowhere until someone gave it a bland enough name. Ever heard of SpidermonkeyRhino? No? How about Node?

9. Processing

I expect some pushback here since the Processing project is not limited to JavaScript, but the fact that something so very nondescript found a home in the JavaScript community is telling.

8. Seriously


7. Underscore

It could have been worse. At least it's not called _.

6. js.js

What else are you going to call a JavaScript interpreter written in JavaScript?

5. Coordinate

When I needed to make up a name for a library to add coordinate properties to HTML tables, "Coordinate" just felt right. It was then that I realized awareness did not make me immune.

4. Ease

I Googled "ease javascript" and had to go three pages deep to find a link to this project's site, and even then it wasn't its home page! I think this is exactly where Ease wants to be.

3. Three

Rival JavaScript 3-D graphics projects like Scene and Fusion gave it their best shot, but their names can't beat the flatness of Three.

2. Language

This is almost too on-the-nose to be real. Since JavaScript is a language, if you Google "javascript language"... I think you see where this is going. The developers of this library are laughing at us.

And my number one favorite creatively-challenged JavaScript project name is.........

1. Whenever

Nondescript and noncommittal, nothing beats Whenever, at least until "Whatever" emerges. Actually, I believe "Whatever" may already exist, but only on a level of unexceptionality so unspecific that we can't perceive it. Until then, Whenever.

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