When you work collaboratively, it’s important to have a bit of a system to help organize files and keep everyone on the same page. I have tried so many different little systems and techniques, and while I may not have the perfect system, I certainly know some things that I find that work and some things that don’t work. Here are some things I like….
- Pick a plain english-y (or whatever language you use to speak) couple of descriptive strings whenever possible to form the base file name (eg. main.fla, loader.fla, etc). – A file name like a_4_3.fla only makes sense to the developer who wrote the array crawling code that makes a file name like that valuable. If you as a developer feel that file names like that are necessary to make your development easier, possibly consider a lookup table, associative array or some other form of developer key document that you use to cross-reference against the human friendly names. – Your designer friends will like you better.
- Use a post base file naming suffix that offers a logical versioning system to people that look for the file. Of course if you are using something like Version Cue or Subversion, etc. this is less important, but for those not using such a system, a convention like “main_v1.psd, main_v2.psd” is preferable to “main_mock.psd, main_revision.psd, main_final.psd”.
- Don’t mix up the idea of versions of files and version of interface mockups… (i.e . mockup_v1.psd, mockup_v2.psd are iterative version of the same style, not completely different designs.)
- Create folders for major revision cycles – mockup, revision, beta, final candidate, etc.
- Using color labeling on Mac OSX is totally acceptable ‚Äì if everyone involved knows what those colors mean, and everyone on the team is actually using Macs.
Here are some things that I don’t like.
- Dates in file names are pretty much irrelevant and unnecessary… Most of the time you are using the date in the name to remember when you made the file, right? Well, that information is stored in the file already. Get properties on it, see? Additionally, you can store that stuff in the spotlight comments if you want.
- Spaces, punctuation, strange characters like $#@&*(^$!¬°‚Ñ¢¬£¬¢‚àû¬ß¬?‚Ä¢¬™¬??ì‚àë¬¥¬Æ‚Ä†ÀÜ??œÄ?¶‚Ä¶¬¨Àö‚àÜÀô¬©?í‚àÇ?üŒ©‚âà?ß‚àö‚à´Àú¬µ‚â§‚â•%(, etc.
- mockup_chad.fla (using the designer or developers name in the file)
What are some of your tips on file naming for teams? Pet Peeves, etc. I’d like to hear form other mixed environments especially… designer/developer cross disciplinary teams, etc.
Posted on June 12, 2007