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Old 12-20-2007, 08:55 AM   #1
ktinkel
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Default Cross-platform file naming

A warning on use of reserved characters in both Mac OS and Windows from the January 2008 MacWorld:

Most Mac user know that Mac OS X will not allow use of the colon (_:_ ), as it is used in path names. Sometimes it will be converted to a hyphen, but some applications may merely beep and do nothing (Word does both of those), in which cases the file is not saved. You also cannot begin a file name with a period (_._), as that indicates an invisible file and it is reserved for use by the OS.

But if a Mac file is sent to a Windows XP user, these characters also cannot be used: asterisk (*), angle brackets (< >), double quotes ("), both slashes (/_\), pipe (|), semicolon (_;_), or question mark (?). All are reserved characters in Windows XP.

I often use question marks (to indicate a file needs to be examined or fixed) and sometimes use the regular slash. Bad habits! Tsk.

   
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Last edited by ktinkel; 12-21-2007 at 05:11 AM. Reason: fix bizarre typo
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:02 PM   #2
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I've always needed to make files cross-platform, and learnt the hard way many years ago that using only alphanumeric characters is the safest method.

   
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Old 12-20-2007, 01:45 PM   #3
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ann: using only alphanumeric characters is the safest method.
Exactly!

People who put spaces in their file names make me crazy...'-}}

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Old 12-20-2007, 01:58 PM   #4
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Exactly!

People who put spaces in their file names make me crazy...'-}}
I have spaces in mine when they are mostly for me — it makes them easier to read. But if I need to send them somewhere, I will replace the spaces with hyphens or underscores.

I hate stumbling across a web page with a URL full of 20%. Ugly and very hard to read.

   
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Old 12-20-2007, 02:07 PM   #5
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kt: I have spaces in mine when they are mostly for me — it makes them easier to read. But if I need to send them somewhere, I will replace the spaces with hyphens or underscores.
I don't really care for those either...'-}}

But they are at least better than spaces...

I've always read that underscores are "better" to use than a dash but I can't remember why...

I think I was a programmer for too long and worked with DOS for too long for the reason I get so unreasonable about spaces, dashes and underscores. I've only very recently allowed myself to use more than 8 characters in a filename and while it does make things more intelligible, I still cringe inside every time I do it...'-}}

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Old 12-20-2007, 03:04 PM   #6
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Terrie:

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I've only very recently allowed myself to use more than 8 characters in a filename and while it does make things more intelligible
I feel guilty when I depart from the 8+3 pattern, but I must admit I have more difficulty in remembering my own mnemonics.

   
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:47 PM   #7
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I feel guilty when I depart from the 8+3 pattern, but I must admit I have more difficulty in remembering my own mnemonics.
I fully embraced long file names as soon as they became available to me - I have the computer to remember things for me: why should I have to remember cryptic abbreviations when a short phrase says it all?

   
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Old 12-21-2007, 06:49 AM   #8
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Marjolein:

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why should I have to remember cryptic abbreviations when a short phrase says it all?
There's no reason at all; it's a subjective thing. You probably are more knowledgeable about when the OS truncates file names though.

   
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Old 12-21-2007, 07:47 AM   #9
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There's no reason at all; it's a subjective thing. You probably are more knowledgeable about when the OS truncates file names though.
When the file name is longer than 8 characters, it can produce a "DOS" file name. The question is - when do you do your own abbreviations instead of just giving a file a logical name? And why?

   
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Old 12-22-2007, 04:15 AM   #10
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Default DOS File Names

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Originally Posted by terrie View Post
...

I think I was a programmer for too long and worked with DOS for too long for the reason I get so unreasonable about spaces, dashes and underscores. I've only very recently allowed myself to use more than 8 characters in a filename and while it does make things more intelligible, I still cringe inside every time I do it...'-}}

Terrie

Ah, my thoughts on file names exactly. I worked on DOS too long to easily give up on 8-period-3 file names with letters, numbers and $ as the characters allowed. Oh, lower case letters only, no sense getting tangled up with Linux thinking upper and lower case are different, even though I use Windows. I still think of directories rather than folders, too.

Last edited by dthomsen8; 12-22-2007 at 04:17 AM. Reason: Addition
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