Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Don't "Namespace" Filenames

When I first started this blog, I wrote up a rant about directory names that mislead about what their contents are. At the same time, I complained about adding unnecessary morphemes to directory names, things like "db" or "model" or such-like.

I've recently become annoyed with the habit of -- for want of a better term -- "namespacing" directory names and file names. I'm not saying not to use good namespace discipline in source code. What I mean is having a directory structure like this:

  zoo/
    zoo_iface/
      zoo_cmds.hpp
      zoo_cmds.cpp
      ...
    zoo_model/
      zoo_cage.hpp
      zoo_animal.hpp
      ...

Why does everything have to start with "zoo"? Look at it this way: if that was how we named people, then everyone's last name would be part of their first name and also part of their middle name. Instead of calling someone Mary Jane Smith, we would know her as MarySmith JaneSmith Smith. Some people make it even worse by prepending the full directory name onto the file name -- like "zoo_model_cage.hpp". Poor Mary Jane would be MaryJaneSmith JaneSmith Smith.

Of course, a source file name may be dictated by its contents -- you're following our C++ standard, right? -- so my ire is directed at redundant directory names more than filenames.

This principle doesn't have to stop at source files.  It boggles my mind that raw bug testcases where I work start their life with names like this:

  /home/bugs/prod1_bugs/comp2_bugs/bug6003.tgz


For crying out loud, I know this is a directory full of bugs, can't we just call each bug something like:

  /home/bugs/prod1/comp2/6003.tgz


?


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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Disabling Auto-Indent in Emacs

I have to edit a C++ file at work whose indentation is so screwed up that any punctuation key I type ends up changing the indentation of the line I'm working on to something that is way out of line with the text right around it. For sanity's sake I have to M-x set-variable c-syntactic-indentation nil when I'm working on that file. The c-syntactic-indentation variable does not start out buffer-local, meaning that for the sake of the one stupid file, I have turned off the very useful feature of syntactic indentation for every file I have open in that session. So, if you are ever going to set it temporarily, make sure you have this line in your .emacs file:

  (make-variable-buffer-local 'c-syntactic-indentation)
 
While you're at it, don't you want a shortcut for the set-variable? I amused myself greatly this morning as I tried to think what shortcut I would assign this action to. The obvious mnemonics I polled with C-h k were taken: I have C-c TAB set to indent-region, C-c ; to comment-region, and C-c { set to a function to insert a skeleton class definition.  What to do?  I finally hit upon C-c (, and lo-and-behold I had already set that keystroke to toggle c-syntactic-indentation, sometime in the distant past! Here's the code:

  (global-set-key "\C-c("
                  '(lambda ()
                     (interactive)
                     (setq c-syntactic-indentation (not c-syntactic-indentation))
                     (message "c-syntactic-indentation set to %s"
                              (if c-syntactic-indentation "t" "nil"))))


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