Looking at package names, one strategy that I commonly observe is to use small words, a verb or noun, and add the letter R to it. A good example is
dstands for dataframe, ply is just a tool, and R is, well, you know. In a conventional sense, the name of this popular tool is informative and easy to remember. As always, the extremes are never good. A couple of bad examples of package naming are
BBand so on. Googling the package name is definitely not helpful. On the other end, package
samplesizelogisticcasecontrolprovides a lot of information but it is plain unattractive!
Another strategy that I also find interesting is developers using names that, on first sight, are completely unrelated to the purpose of the package. But, there is a not so obvious link. One example is package
sandwich. At first sight, I challenge anyone to figure out what it does. This is an econometric package that computes robust standard errors in a regression model. These robust estimates are also called sandwich estimators because the formula looks like a sandwich. But, you only know that if you studied a bit of econometric theory. This strategy works because it is easier to remember things that surprise us. Another great example is package
janitor. I’m sure you already suspect that it has something do to with data cleaning. And you are right! The message of the name is effortless and it works! The author even got the privilege of using letter R in the name.
Marcelo uses word and character analysis to come up with his conclusions, making this a good way of seeing how to graph and slice data. h/t R-bloggers
One Part Name
This is just the name of the object. This is probably the most common usage and yet the only one I would recommend never using. (I’ll freely admit I’m not great at this myself btw.) When you only use a single name the schema is implied by the default schema of the user running the statement. That means that the same statement run by two different users could have two different meanings. Since most users have a default schema of dbo this would probably hit the object dbo.vIndividualCustomer. Assuming one even existed.
Click through for more.
I’ve talked about this in my live sessions, but this is an extreme case that really happened – a team took over a week to fix a bug in a stored procedure, and the delay was caused solely by poor naming standards. What happened was that the application was calling
dbo.Customer_Update, but the team was hunting for the bug in a different procedure,
dbo.Update_Customer. While there was no formal convention in place, the real problem was inconsistency – a consultant charged with writing a different application didn’t check for an existing procedure, she just looked for
dbo.Update_Customerin the list; when she didn’t find it, she wrote her own. The bug itself wasn’t crucial, but that lost time can never be recovered.
I’ll repeat again that the convention you choose is largely irrelevant, as long as it makes sense to you and your team, and you all agree on it – and abide by it. But I am asked frequently for advice on naming conventions, and for things like tables, I’m not going to get into religious arguments about plural vs. singular, the dreaded
tblprefix, or going to great lengths to avoid vowels. But I think I have a pretty sensible standard for stored procedures, and I am always happy to share my biases even though I know not everyone will agree with them. Again, I touched on this in my earlier post, but sometimes these things bear repeating and a little elaboration.
I agree with this: pick a standard and stick to it.
I’m definitely a descriptivist. Language is always changing and if a word or phrase gets adopted widely enough, it is no longer “wrong” (whatever that means).
So when I hear “Field” and “Record” they’re acceptable to me. But if I’m explaining something, I don’t want to distract from the thing I’m saying. And from that point of view, I try to use “Row” and “Column” because I don’t know anyone who blinks at those terms.
Entity and Attribute or bust. That’s my philosophy.
So what does this mean? Should we start naming our database files whatever we want? No, absolutely not! It means that you need to be extra careful when specifying the name of the files. You really don’t want to use non-standard file names. The confusion! The misunderstandings! Do you really want the operating system to think your database file is a really big picture? Or even worse (and while I realize this sounds like a stretch I’ve had it happen) you accidentally give your file a .bak extension. Then one day your automated process that deletes old bak files runs as the same time your instance is down. Bye bye database file.
You can use whatever extension you want, but be smart about it. Also check out Sean McCown’s
dirty fun trick.