McMaster University

Faculty of Health Sciences
Web Design

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What is the file naming convention?

The convention for naming files on Unix servers at McMaster is as follows:

  • Always use lower case letters in file names.
  • The first character in file names should be a lower case letter.
  • Do not use embedded spaces in file names.
  • Use underscores (_) in place of embedded spaces for readability.
  • Do not use embedded periods (.) in file names except before the file extension. (For example, my.file.html is not correct, but my_file.html is correct.
  • Do not use special characters in file names. For example, !@#$^&*()<>,;:'"?/+|
  • Try to make file names descriptive of the file's content.

Note: Following these file naming conventions will help reduce problems that sometimes occur in the transfer of files from local computers to web servers.

For example, when a file that has upper case letters in its name is uploaded to the server, its name sometimes will be uppercase on the server and sometimes lower case, and a problem will arise when there are 2 different versions on the server, and the web designer may wonder what happened to updates to the file.