DDS naming conventions

Data description specifications (DDS) require that files, records, fields, and other labels and identifiers that are described in DDS keywords follow specific rules.

The naming conventions used in DDS are as follows:

  • Qualified names
    • Use a slash to separate the parts of a qualified name. Embedded blanks are not allowed. For example:
    • For most keywords with a qualified name parameter value, you can code *LIBL or *CURLIB for the library name. If you do not specify a library name, *LIBL is used. You cannot code *USRLIBL for the library name. This rule differs from that in control language (CL), which often allows *USRLIBL.
    • Specify a maximum of 10 characters for object names. If you enclose the name in quotation marks, you can specify up to 8 characters between the quotation marks. This rule is different from that in CL, which allows a basic name of up to 10 characters to be specified between the quotation marks. See the Control language topic collection for syntax rules for object names.
  • Record and field names
    • The DDS syntax rules for record and field names are:
      • Names must be 10 characters or less.
      • Names must begin with an alphabetic character (A through Z, @, $, and #). All subsequent characters can be alphanumeric (A through Z, 0 through 9, @, $, #, and _ (underscore)). There can be no embedded blanks.
      • In ICF files, record names cannot start with $$.
    • Specify qualified field names similar to qualified names. For example:

    High-level languages can impose specific length and value restrictions on the name. Check the appropriate high-level language reference guide for the syntax requirements for your high-level language processor.

  • ALIAS (alternative field) names
    • The length of an alternative field name is 1 to 30 characters. The first character must be A through Z. Subsequent characters must be A through Z, 0 through 9, or the underscore (_).
    • Because DDS does not perform any language-specific syntax checking, you must make sure that the alternative field names you specify conform to the naming conventions of the high-level language that uses the names. The high-level language compiler checks the syntax of the names when they are brought into the program.
  • Message identifiers
    • Message identifiers must be 7 characters long. The first 3 characters are the message prefix.
    • The first character of the message prefix must be an alphabetic character (A through Z, @, $, and #). The next 2 characters of the message prefix must be alphanumeric (A through Z, @, $, #, _, 0 through 9).
    • The last 4 characters must be a hexadecimal value (0 through 9, A through F).
  • Label, document, and folder names
    • An online help information label name must be from 1 to 10 characters long and must begin with an uppercase alphabetic character (A through Z, @, #, or $). The label name cannot contain a comma, a single quotation mark, or an embedded blank.
    • A document name (and a simple folder name) must be a 1 to 8 character part. It can be followed by a period and a 1 to 3 character part called an extender. The characters used most often are A through Z, 0 through 9, @, #, $, and _.
    • If a folder name is concatenated, each simple folder name is separated by a forward slash (/). The total length of the folder name cannot exceed 63 characters.
    • In DDS, a document, simple folder name, or online help information label name can be enclosed in single quotation marks. The enclosing single quotation marks are required when the name contains an opening or closing parenthesis or a single quotation mark character. When the name is enclosed in single quotation marks, specify two single quotation marks for each single quotation mark character within the name. If a folder name is concatenated, the enclosing single quotation marks, if specified, must be around the entire concatenated name.