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"keyIdentifier" Sucks

From: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 2009 00:00:30 -0400
Message-ID: <4AB84BDE.4070604@w3.org>
To: "www-dom@w3.org" <www-dom@w3.org>
Hi, DOM3 Events folks-

I think key identifiers are a pretty good mechanism that will definitely 
improve the authoring experience.

However... having typed "keyIdentifier" more times than I care to 
remember in the course of editing this spec, I can state with some 
measure of confidence that it's a terrible name.

* It is long
* It is camelCased
* The word "identifier" (and its connotations of uniqueness) gives the 
immediate impression that it somehow uniquely identifies a key, that 
each key has a set value, and that there is only one key identifier per 
key.... none of which is correct.  This makes it harder for people to 
understand than if it had some other name (like... monkeybuffalo or 

I am reluctant to change it because the term has been around for so long 
in earlier drafts of this spec, and because of existing implementations, 
but I really think authors would benefit from a shorter, more aptly 
descriptive name.

I know, I know, this is bikeshedding... but this is also our best chance 
to get this right, before it is widely deployed in implementations and 

Here are some counter-proposals, in roughly descending order of my 
1) keyname (I'd need to come up with some other term for what I'm 
calling a "key name" in the spec, but that's fine)
2) keystring
3) keyvalue
4) keyaddress
5) keyid (I don't like this one for a number of reasons)
6) keypeek (joke)

Is this a quixotic notion by someone who is too deep into the 
specification, or do other people think this is a reasonable topic for 
discussion?  Either way, I'm happy to entertain other names (which would 
cover both the ".keyIdentifier" attribute and the "Key Identifiers Set" 

-Doug Schepers
W3C Team Contact, SVG and WebApps WGs
Received on Tuesday, 22 September 2009 04:00:45 UTC

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