In Blender 2.8, we are making some slight changes to naming conventions used throughout the app.
By default in Blender, we use the English language. In any language, words have certain meanings.
Language is a communication tool, and the only way language can work, is if we adhere to the same meanings. Using wrong or misleading language serves nobody - it only makes simple things unnecessarily difficult to understand and learn.
So, we want to favour unambiguous, plain and standard language. In Blender, there are some examples where we simply aren't using the correct terms for things, and we want to fix that.
Here's a list of the changes:
Draw -> Display
In the context of information shown to the user, eg. Draw All Edges, Draw Type, Draw Method etc.
Draw: (Oxford) Produce (a picture or diagram) by making lines and marks on paper with a pencil, pen, etc..
Display: (Oxford) Show (data or an image) on a computer, television, or other screen.
The word 'draw' for displaying information is fundamentally confusing in a graphics application which includes actual drawing tools. The word 'display' is clearer and unambiguous. This also means changes for common word combinations, eg:
Draw Type -> Display As
Display As [Wireframe] is unambiguous and clear, whereas 'draw type' is not.
Properties (N key) -> Sidebar
It used to be ambiguous if you were referring to the Properties area vs the Properties Editor. For this reason, we've changed the convention so that we use 'sidebar' for the N-key area and 'Properties' for the Properties Editor.
Group -> Collection
This reflects the merging of the old Groups and Layers into something new. Blender's old Groups wouldn't actually behave like a grouped item in the scene, and so the term was misleading. 'Collections' makes it clear that items are simply part of a collection.
Translate & Grab -> Move
In the context of the tool in the toolbar that lets users alter the position of items.
Translate: (Oxford): Express the sense of (words or text) in another language -or- convert something or be converted into(another form or medium) Translate can also mean, in formal terms: (Oxford) move (a bishop or, in Scotland, a minister) to another
Grab: (Oxford) Grasp or seize suddenly and roughly -or- obtain or get (something) quickly or opportunistically
Move: (Oxford) [with object] change the place, position
The 'Translate' button in Blender could never translate between German and Spanish. The word is ambiguous and not plainly clear.
Using 'Grab' to mean moving something from A to B is simply not correct.
'Move' is both more plain and clear.
Manipulator -> Gizmo
Shorter, more standard term.
Grease Pencil -> Annotate
Annotate: (Oxford) Add notes to (a text or diagram) giving explanation or comment
Gives a better idea of what the tool is for, rather than a reference to an object. This name also had to change because of the new Grease Pencil objects in 2.8.
X-Ray -> In Front
Blender 2.8 has an actual X-Ray feature now in the Shading popover which lets you look through objects. However, objects also have an X-Ray option which simply displays them on top of other objects. Using the same term for two different things here is confusing, and 'X-Ray' is not a good description of displaying in front.
Lamp -> Light
Lamp: (Oxford) A device for giving light, either one consisting of an electric bulb together with its holder and shade or cover
Light: (Oxford) A source of illumination
A sun can't be a lamp, but it is a light. 'Light' is a better generic term here.
Spin -> Lathe
Status: Not Yet
Spin: (Oxford) turn or whirl round quickly
Lathe: (Oxford) A machine for shaping wood, metal, or other material by means of a rotating drive which turns the piece being worked on against changeable cutting tools.
The Spin tool in Blender doesn't spin at all. 'Spin' implies movement. This is simply not the correct term. 'Lathe' is the correct term here.
Duplication -> Instancing
In the context of Particle instances, Collection instances, and the old DupliVerts/DupliFaces, which also creates instances.
Instances are a unique feature that saves memory, which isn't communicated by the term 'duplication'.
Actually duplicating objects and items should still use the term 'duplicate'.
Subsurf -> Subdiv
As a shorthand for Subdivision Surfaces, Subdiv is correct, Subsurf is not. 'Subsurf' is especially confusing because it sounds like Subsurface Scattering, which is something very different.
Center Points -> Origins
This is not a name change. Just to point out that we aren't being consistent here. Sometimes we refer to the origin point as 'center points', although mostly we refer to them as 'Origins'. We should use the same name everywhere. 'Center points' is also a bad name because, obviously, it's most often not in the center.
Circle Select -> Paint Selection
Status: Not Yet
Circle Select does not select circles. It doesn't even let you drag a circle around items to select them. What this tool is, is a way to paint selections, so that's what we should call it.
Border Select -> Box Select or Rectangle Select
Oxford: Border: 1: a line separating two countries. 2: the edge or boundary of something
Border Select does not select borders. It selects everything inside a box or rectangle.
Shape Key -> Morph Target
Status: Not Yet
The term 'Shape Key' is not a good word. It implies keyframing, which isn't what it does. This feature allows you to define a set of shapes to morph between. So, 'Morph Target' is a better term.
Border -> Region
This applies to Render Border, Clipping Border and other related features.
These features are not about rendering or selecting borders, but creating region for selection or rendering.
Ornaments -> Extras
Oxford: Ornament: A thing used or serving to make something look more attractive but usually having no practical purpose
An ornament is a superfluous, useless, decorative element.
Remove Doubles -> Merge by Distance
Alternatives: Distance Merge, Proximity Merge
The current Remove Doubles operator name is not clear: 'Doubles' implies exactly two items, even though it works in an arbitrary number of vertices. 'Remove' is also misleading - really it's just performing a merge operation.
Since this operator is really just a special kind of Merge that takes distance into account, the name can reflect that.
Add -> Create
(for placing new primitives into the scene)
Status: Not yet
Oxford: Add: Join (something) to something else so as to increase the size, number, or amount: a new wing was added to the building | some box offices now add on a convenience charge | (as adjective added) : one vitamin tablet daily will give added protection.
Put together (two or more numbers or amounts) to calculate their total value: they added all the figures up | add the two numbers together.
The term 'Add' is somewhat ambiguous, because it's used in maths to add to values together. We even use the term Add inside Blender for this in many places.
The term 'Create' is more specific and unambiguous, and is more widely used for this.