Coding Horror

programming and human factors

On Unnecessary Namespacing

Is it really necessary to qualify everything in Windows Vista with the "Windows" namespace?


Hey, guess what operating system this is!

At least the Vista start menu lets me do a containing search, so if I start typing 'fax', the menu dynamically filters itself to show only items containing what I typed. The revamped Start menu is one of my favorite Vista features; it directly addresses XP's abysmal start menu user experience.

But still-- what's with all the Windows noise? Wouldn't that list be so much easier to navigate if we deleted the words "Microsoft" and "Windows" from each entry?


I'm sure the very suggestion of dropping those key branding words will drive the marketing weasels apoplectic. But who's more important? The users, or your marketing weasels?* Repeated words, if they're repeated often enough, are just babbling noise.

I have a similar problem with the add reference dialog in Visual Studio.


Unfortunately this dialog does not support containing search-- only "starts with" search-- so it's a royal pain to find what I need. This is a concrete example of how unnecessary namespacing hurts usability. Thank goodness the System namespace is actually named System and not "Microsoft.Windows.dotNet.System".

* a rhetorical question.

Written by Jeff Atwood

Indoor enthusiast. Co-founder of Stack Overflow and Discourse. Disclaimer: I have no idea what I'm talking about. Find me here: