Losing my blog title (oh no, I’ve said too much…)

Keen observers amongst my readers may have noticed that I’ve subtly renamed my blog. It used to be “Zen and the Art of Ruby Programming” and now it just reads “Zen and the Art of Programming”. Perhaps you also noticed that my Ruby logo has been replaced with a cuter one created for the Snakes and Rubies conference, which was held about two years ago at DePaul University (by the way, I don’t know who the creator of that great logo is, but really hope he/she doesn’t mind me using it. If anyone knows who designed it, please let me know so that I can fully give the right person credit for it).

For several months now I’ve been pondering this decision before finally taking the name change plunge. Don’t worry, I’m not going all good ol’ Zed on you. I like Ruby as much as I ever did, I think that in the past four years we have come a long way and I see a bright future for Ruby. My decision has little to do with Ruby or Rails. No Ruby, it’s not you, it’s me.

There are a few reasons beyond my decision:

  1. I noticed that, consciously or not, having the word Ruby in the title conditioned me. As Walt Whitman put it, “I am large, I contain multitudes” and I don’t like to limit myself to simply talking about Ruby and Rails. I use and experiment with various programming languages and, especially on a blog located at firstnamelastname.com, I want to feel free to talk about any language that I please – even if chances are that this blog will always be mostly about Ruby.
  2. The current title paints a more accurate picture of what this site is all about to my readers. This blog is not only about Ruby, nor is it exclusively about programming languages, so I prefer not to advertise it as such. I’ve seen quite a few comments along the lines of, “oh yeah, Zen and the Art of Ruby Programming”, whenever I blogged about Django, DB2 or anything else that wasn’t strictly Ruby related. Not that I care too much about this type of comment, but if I’m (supposed) to have a title at all, it should at least be somewhat factual.
  3. A strongly Ruby-centric blog title may give new readers the false impression that the author of the posts is a highly biased advocate of Ruby. Those who follow my writing, know I value critical thinking and always try to be reasonable in my arguments. I have no qualms with admitting Ruby’s faults, if the occasion warrants doing so. I don’t have a hidden agenda, strive for intellectual honesty, and would prefer to have my opinions valued on the basis of their merits, rather than on a label that’s been given to my blog – or to me. There will always be mindless critics, but I’ve seen far too many harsh comments based on the fact that people jumped to assumptions because they’re sick of “Rails hype blogs”, rather taking the time to actually read what I had to say. I never set out to make everyone happy, but what I just mentioned is definitely a point that I took into consideration when leaning towards the final blog name decision.
  4. I will confess that lately I’ve been more into Python and Django, so chances are that I’ll start giving them some serious coverage here.

What’s in a name? A lot, I think. While there may be a slight loss of “branding” and some negative effects when it comes to SEO, I don’t really mind, and it’s a risk that I’m willing to take. I want to explore the possibility of “Zen and the Art of Programming”, even if proves to be a mistake.

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  1. Jeff Self March 16, 2008
  2. Antonio Cangiano March 16, 2008
  3. Nicola Larosa March 17, 2008
  4. Masci March 17, 2008
  5. JJ March 17, 2008

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