View Full Version : huge huge pet peeve... periods in the name of directories.

01-22-2009, 11:39 AM

it screws things up in the Operating System, and when I rename it to something reasonable, then LIGHTWAVE itself can have difficulties.

I don't care if Steve Jobs told you himself that it was ok. Its not.

01-22-2009, 02:17 PM
Where are we doing that?


01-22-2009, 03:12 PM
I just saw them, they are in the SDK folder like, mainly x code project folders:



01-22-2009, 03:17 PM
I could be mistaken, but these should be Xcode projects. If you have Xcode installed (free download from Apple Dev), they're treated as packages. I haven't come across any problematic periods myself... is there a specific location where you're finding troublesome folders?

01-22-2009, 03:29 PM
Where are we doing that?


in the name of the main Lightwave 9.6 directory

its a problem because the system SOMETIMES treats directories with periods in their names AS Bundles, or worse, as files.
bundles are folders that appear to be files.
every application is a bundle, xcode projects are bundles, iDVD's document type is a Bundle.
the main thing they do, is keep the user from seeing the contents of the directory.

and so... the main application directory, where layout and modeler live, should NEVER be treated as a bundle or a file, and here we are, some 4-5 years after I spent a Large chunk of my own time educating Newtek on this issue, with an install that asks me to drag a directory named: "LightWave3D 9.6" into my applications directory.

01-22-2009, 03:37 PM
Thanks Iaian7,

I thought they were Xcode projects :)

@ eblu

:D :D

Edit: because of eblu edit.

Ok, that makes sense now.

Wouldn't there be a list of dot extensions that the Finder goes by and everything else should still act like a folder when the extensions don't match?


01-22-2009, 03:47 PM
Aaaaah... yes, I see now! Somehow, I didn't even think of it being called "Lightwave 9.6". Silly me. :D
I can see where that could be a problem... though it hasn't been any trouble for me yet.

01-22-2009, 05:49 PM

It's actually pretty hard to make the OS treat a folder as a bundle. You need the right trailing name for apps and a few other types, or an app with an active plist that specifies that bundle name as a document type. I honestly can't imagine this being problematic for our users, but I'd be happy to be educated there. I've had the opposite experience, where trying to make the OS treat a bundle as a file type and not a folder was problematic.

Now, from the development standpoint, I can see it being a problem for anyone who writes a script to grab a directory structure, and who treats any folder with a '.' in its name as a bundle, and decides to ignore it. But there are better ways to do that, so I can't imagine that being a problem, even for the newest Mac developers.

I honestly can't see how this causing a problem for the end user, but I'd be happy to change it, if you can convince me of a potential problem there.

The problem we were more concerned with was that our users, in the midst of installing LightWave 9.6, might accidentally overwrite their existing LightWave 9 folder, thereby wiping any plug-ins they might have in that folder, out of existence. We didn't want that to happen, and it did occur in at least one case on the beta forums. So this solution was put in at the last minute, to circumvent that for those users who had not used a recent Mac beta.

Seriously, if you have a better suggestion, I'm all ears.


01-23-2009, 05:51 AM
the underscore.

01-23-2009, 10:05 AM
look, granted os X and Lightwave have gotten better in the last 5 years.
not so many Hard coded paths in LW, and not so many blind alleys in OS X.

but thats not the end of the story. LW has to live next to and in happiness with other applications, os X is NOT devoid of little glitches, and There are very odd issues that crop up with servers, and other equipment that you have no experience using.

Why introduce problems If you don't Have to?

for better or worse, we now have an OS that relies upon a tag in the filename to determine its function. the OS is built upon an even older os that behaves in a way contrary to what we as users expect. (for instance : unix is quite happy to let you name files in the same directory exactly the same... the only difference being the Case of the name.) Apple had to do a lot of magic to get Unix and the dot extension scheme to play nice. its not perfect and even today its still evolving (getting more refined, getting better)

Applications for the most part rely on the os to tell them whether an item is a directory or a file, but they don't always have robust code, or worse, they have code based on old assumptions. An Application that uses the cheeky dot extension ".6" might conceivably get confused and try to load the Lightwave directory as a file.

A User May inadvertedly set the dot extension ".6" to be opened by a particular app... these settings cascade, and are almost viral in their ability to survive in the Machine.

the User MAY work in a platform agnostic setting... windows, macs, Linux, and SGI, may all be working off of a Giant Linux Based SAN. That SAN may be quite a Bit less forgiving about filenames, and the ADMIN may have done something "clever" which means that you now have your Lightwave installation living on the server. Now, mac clients are hosed, because the Linux based SAN is Not sure what to make of a directory with dot extensions, so it turns the whole thing into gibberish. or worse, just removes the whole thing from the drive. (this Has Happened to me, not w/ LW but another directory form a client, its why I'm a filename zealot)

now, in perspective, these aren't intolerably difficult problems to fix, so long as you know whats happening. if you don't Know what happened you get annoyed when LW suddenly stops working, disappears, or Looks like a file instead of a directory. Why, as a company would you want to even potentially do that to an end user? Sure, we can just rename the directory. except that the last time I went down that road, it caused LScript to stop working altogether.

I work in a platform agnostic environment, and I have learned what things can get me into trouble as far as file names on the mac, in that environment.

here are "don'ts":
long file names, say 64 + characters
periods in ANY file name, that don't signify the invisibility of the file or the separation of its extension
back slashes /
forward slashes \
unix wildcards #$&%*
the at symbol @
colons :
semi colons ;
misc characters that are not letters .,<>?)({}!+=|

replace spaces with either caseChangesAtTheBeginningOfWords or underscores_where_spaces_go
replace the use of periods with underscores
avoid situations where the name of the file is longer than 64 characters
when in doubt, name things safely.

01-26-2009, 01:25 PM
Coming from a complete non-programmer but long time mac lightwave user:

-Periods don't bother me and have never effected me.
-Spaces don't bother me and have never effected me.
-I have renamed Lightwave folders countless times and have never seen a side effect.

But like I said, I just open the program and use it, I don't really write and use a bunch of custom stuff. Just use a few well known plugins.

I_personally_don_t_want_to_see_underscores_everywh ere

Just plopping my end user opinion out there.