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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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Originally Posted by terrie View Post
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, 02:13 PM   #6
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I_regularly_use_spaces_in_filenames_because_they'r e_easier to_read, though_of_course_never_if_the_file's_going_to_be shoved_onto_a_website. I_reckon_that_any_modern_OS_should_be_able_to_cope _with spaces, and_I'm_appalled_that_they_make_Linux_throw_such_a _pathetic_wobbly.

   
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Old 12-20-2007, 02:16 PM   #7
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ROFL!!!

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Old 12-20-2007, 03:04 PM   #8
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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, 03:06 PM   #9
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And some Mac software (Adobe stuff, for sure) often stubs its toe if there are two periods in a file name -- unpredictable behavior ensues. I do not like unpredictable behavior, so I'm known for changing names of files with multiple dots that I find on Macs I'm asked to work on.

   
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel View Post
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 LAO 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.
All of those characters are "banned" because they have a special meaning on the command line (or in naming paths).

As to annotating - I usually add a short comment in (normal) brackets at the start of the file name; for longer single-line comments I create an empty text file where the name of the file is the comment; for multi-line comments I can then just edit this file to add content. To keep file and comment together I can start the comment with the name of the file.

Just some of my little tricks...

   
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