Short Names

I started using computers a long time ago, and in the PC world, we were often limited to an 8 character name and a 3 character extension. Unix and MacOS allowed longer names, and many of us in DOS and Windows were jealous. Eventually Windows evolved, allowing long names, spaces, and really quite a bit of latitude in what you want to name a file. For example, try this and see what happens on your SQL Server:

BACKUP DATABASE Sandbox TO DISK = 'Sandbox.thisisafullbackupthatIusetostartarestore'

However, the three character extension still dominates, and many applications still use this. Microsoft has started to get away from this, as we have .docx, .xlsx, etc. Other vendors and software systems have started to expand names slightly. I was reading about the SQL Server Diagnostics Preview and noticed that the engineers will take a dump file (.dmp) as well as a mini dump (.mdmp) and a filtered dump (.hdmp).

Now I know developers are lazy, and they don’t like to type, but in these days of auto-completion and other tools, why are we limiting ourselves. Why wouldn’t we use .minidump or .filtereddump as descriptive way of identifying the file? If we are no longer bound, why not include a better extension? I can’t imagine that the filesystem for many tools would be stressed by longer names.

I’m assuming that people still feel bound to using the shortest set of letters that they think are unique, but with the growth of software applications from many, many sources, why not just be more descriptive? Would you want to see better filenames? I know I would.

Steve Jones

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