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Naming Convention — Field Name Prefixes Update

A few weeks ago we blogged about changes we were making to our naming convention (Naming Convention for FileMaker fields). Wouldn’t you know it, we no sooner posted this than we found a change we want to make. As stated there, our convention isn’t the “be all and end all”, and you don’t need to follow our every example. We made these changes for reasons you might want to consider in your own conventions, though, so we’re posting the changes here.  This is the portion from the past blog that has been updated:

Prefixes

For some fields, it is more important to have like fields listed together than it is to make them readable. For these, we will now prefix the field name with a special character. The special characters will be less of a distraction than the former purpose and type codes, but still group these fields together in a list.

| – (pipe character) for fields that are about the record itself, and not the data in that record, such as creation and modification information

@ – Fields that are only used on layouts, as part of the user interface

Since this post, we now use the @ character for any metadata fields.  Specifically, any fields that are about records, layouts or tables now all fall under the metadata category.  This simplifies the naming convention by taking a special character out of usage.  The primary reason we abandoned the | (pipe) character is because it is a word break.  This means that if you have a field called |examplefield and you double click on it, you will only highlight up until the character but not including the character.  You will highlight only examplefield.  When copying and pasting field names this becomes a problem and can be a very easy error to overlook.

There are a few others that have been added.  Here’s a rundown of all of the changes, taken straight from the xBase v12 documentation:

Field Name Prefixes

The following characters should be added to the beginning of the field name, in this order, where applicable:

  • Primary key fields
    • __ (double underscore)
  • Foreign key fields
    • _ (single underscore)
  • Fields that the developer wants to appear at the bottom of the field list
    • zz
  • Reserved fields
    • : (colon)
  • Metadata fields
    • @

(fields that are pertaining to the record, layout or table)

Field Name Prefix Examples

Certain field types should be preceded by a special character, to make them group together in a field list and make it clear that the field has a special purpose:

A field related to the record itself, not its contents, is called a metadata field. Some examples, included in the template table, are as follows:

  • @Creation_Account
    • The account name of the user who created the record.
  • @Creation_Account_Key
    • The key of the Accounts record of the user who created this record.
  • @Creation_Timestamp
    • Date and time the record was created.
  • @Modification_Account
    • The account name of the user who last modified the record.
  • @Modification_Account_Key
    • The key of the Accounts record of the user who last modified this record.
  • @Modification_Timestamp
    • Date and time the record was last modified.
  • zz@Count!
    • A summary field giving the count of records in the found set
  • zz@Parameters
    • A field that stores xScript and xMenu parameters

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