File name conventions for web developers

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Trained web developers should have good habits. All files you create should follow simple naming convention:

  • only alphabetic characters
  • no capital letters
  • no spaces
  • no special characters, except the underscore _ character
  • always use filename extensions:
    • .html for HTML markup files
    • .css for CSS style sheet files
    • .js for Javascript files
    • .gif for GIF image files
    • .jpg for JPEG image files
    • .png for PNG image files
    • .php for PHP files
    • .py for Python files
    • .txt for text files
    • .csv for text files with comma-separated values
    • .zip for compressed zip files
    • etc...

Principled stand on the minus sign

The current generation of highly-skilled web developers often use the - character in filenames and some experienced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) consultants even say that using dashes (-) instead of underscores (_) in file names leads to better placement on the search engine results page (SERP). I will never condone this practice.

Other applications of these conventions

These same conventions generally apply to the following:

  • variable names
  • database names
  • database table or collection names

Except that:

  • variable names written in lowerCamelCase or UpperCamelCase can include capital letters, of course
  • you don't need to put file extensions on things that aren't files

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