Don’t Give Me Space

From Dwayne Wright
Certified FileMaker 9 Developer

In FileMaker and most database applications, the space character between the words of a file name, layout, field, relationship or script can cause problems. In FileMaker, it isn’t so much a problem until it interfaces with other applications, databases or web services.

In most cases a developer will go in two possible directions as they remove the spaces between words. The first is to put in an underscore character where a space character normally resides. So that a form and list view layouts for a client file might look something like form_clients, list_clients, clients_form or clients_list.

Another technique for this can be to smush the words together but capitalize the first letter of each word. This technique has been around for quite sometime for programming but it was born out of marketing efforts. Creating new words is a great way to promote something and you may be familiar with examples such as CinemaScope or AstroTurf. Another example you might be familiar with is a little database application called FileMaker, blending the word of file and maker. A common term for blending two or more words together in this way is called CamelCase because the capitalized letters resemble the humps on a camel.

Then you have a developer like myself that doesn’t subscribe to any particular method but changes it up when it becomes more readable for my purposes. For example, many times I will capitalize the entire first word of a layout name, put in an underscore character and put the last word in lower case.


This allows me to quickly identify a developer utility layout, form/list view layout or a layout that is used as a pop up dialog box for data entry.

In my relationship graph, I use the anchor/buoy naming convention I learned from the Kevin Frank presentation on the topic. This means the table the TO is linked to is lowercase, the table we are linked to is in UPPERCASE. As an option, if I want to pass more information in the TO, I will add two underscore characters and then that description in lowercase. For example, using the database that I use to write my blog posts ...


This says to me that the layout that uses this relationship is linked to my blog table. The table I am linking to is the table where I store my crossword questions and answers. The relationship is setup in order to allow me to create new crossword records on the fly via a portal.
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© 2008 - Dwayne Wright -

The material on this document is offered AS IS. There is NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, expressed or implied, nor does any other contributor to this document. WARRANTIES OF MERCHANT ABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED. Consequential and incidental damages are expressly excluded. FileMaker Pro is the registered trademark of FileMaker Inc.

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