I’ve only recently started building websites again after a fifteen-year hiatus. It turns out that a lot has changed since my awesome Buffy the Vampire site went offline all those years ago. Making websites is more complex and difficult now. There’s a lot to learn and do, and never enough time to learn and do it.
For that reason, we as developers need to find ways of conserving time wherever possible. Keyboard shortcuts, multiple monitors, and Sublime Text’s Emmet feature are a few ways in which we save ourselves precious seconds. I’d like to suggest yet another way.
It has to do with these symbols: < >. We use these a lot and need to refer to them in conversation with other developers a fair amount, too. What in horse hockey are those called? I’ve heard them called “angle brackets”, “carets”, and the “less-than” and “greater-than symbol”.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t have time to say all those syllables! When I talk to other developers, the last thing I need is to be stumbling like a dork over a term like “greater-than symbol” with its seemingly-infinite syllables.
I humbly suggest that we adopt a new terminology for these symbols. Here’s the term I’ve come up with:
Why beaks? Because no matter how you look at them, they look like the beaks of birds. Consider these images:
Let’s look at them from another perspective:
The resemblance is undeniable!
“Now, hold on!”, you say, “Beaks is a fairly general term! What are we supposed to call < and > individually?”
Now, just slow your roll! I’ve thought of that!
I propose that this little guy (<) be called an “opening beak”, or simply an “o-beak” — we are trying to save time here, after all.
Likewise, this character (>) should be called a “closing beak”, or simply a “c-beak”.
You now have an opportunity to save two to three syllables’ worth of time each time you refer to these symbols in conversation. Plus, you’ll never have to say “greater-than symbol” again, which suits me just fine — that awkward, prickly mouthful hurts my gob!
I’m not going to tell you what to do with the oodles of time you’ll save by adding these words to your lexicon; that’s for you to figure out.
As for me, I’ll probably use my extra time to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD — after all, times change, but some things never go out of style.