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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