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Mac filename conventions

1993-04-08 16:56:28
The Macintosh OS uses an 8 bit charactrer set for file
names and disallows only the character colon (":")

Actually, the colon is reserved for use as a separator.  Full path
specifications would employ it.

a typical unix partial path sa:


implying the current context,
        big disk:usr:spool:xyz:neXXfoo

for a complete path on a volume named "big disk".  Note that imbedded blanks are
quite legal.


Is meaningless except in partial pathnames, where it backs up one level of

Apple Human Interface guidelines strongly discourage exposing users to
full/partial path specification, on the premise that a user should never have to
type one, only very rare programs employ full path names at all (typically
development/maintenance tools).  The majority of programs determine file paths
via a system supported GUI called StandardFile, which displays a list of all
files of the curent subdirectory, and a list of the parents of that directory.
Feedback to the program is a structure specifing the file path in terms of its
volume id, parent directory id, and filename.

Also, filenames are currently allowed to be 31 characters long, while
folder/volume names are restricted to 27.  It is a good idea for full path names
to resolve to less than 256 chars, as internal system structures take partial
pathnames as a pascal string (for historical reasons), but it is rare for anyone
to get bitten by this.

end of lecture.
dana s emery <de19(_at_)umail(_dot_)umd(_dot_)edu>

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