Information on the envelope

I blogged about REST vs SOAP last week. One of the key differences  is REST has descriptive information as part of the address on the envelope and SOAP provides information only as part of the letter inside the envelope. So with REST you have to dig deeper to find out what is intended with the message.

A nice analogy is how people name the documents they write. We received a document called RFP.doc from a customer today. Pretty descriptive or?

There are two ways you can contain meta information for word documents:

  • As part of the file name, for example RFP-projectX-20070213.doc
  • As part of the document containing a version number, author, date and revision table

RFP.doc contains revision and other document attributes inside the document, but it gives away very little information based on the filename alone. I like to put labels on everything so prefer to give files a descriptive name. I recognize you can only contain 3 to 4 pieces in the filename, the rest should be within the document. My filename attributes are:

  • Intention of the document, indeed RFP is a good example
  • Context it is referring to, customer and or project name
  • Date, use dates in the filenames in format yyyyMMdd, it makes documents sorted on name appear in the right chronological order (I guess you have to be unix tech to know this).

And I do not like names that suggest a status of the document. Statuses tends to change over time. Anybody seen the document: rfp-project-itdoesnotgetmorefinalthatthis.doc, and yet it does get less final because a revision is needed.


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