Re: Needed: a convention to indicate a path for Windows, Linux, and Mac

Subject: Re: Needed: a convention to indicate a path for Windows, Linux, and Mac
From: "Richard Smith" <radvas -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 4 Mar 2008 23:55:09 -0800

Hi Leonard,

There are several ways to accomplish this. What you ultimately choose
probably depends on the level of technical sophistication of your readers.

I write for software developers, and fortunately they know the differences
between unix and windows paths. To denote an installation path, I usually
use a text variable, and not a literal path. Sometihng like
<install-dir>/product_name/file.cfg. Then, if necessary you can mention the
default installation path(s). Also I'm guessing that "c:/Program
files/Product_Name/Folder/File.cfg" is probably the default, but not
necessarily the actual path.

Not knowing any details about your case, I might be inclined to explicitly
mention all three default installation paths, specifically because they can
be so different from one another. For example

(win) --> C:\Program Files\SuperCoolProgram
(mac) --> /Applications/SuperCoolProgram or ~/Library/Application\
(Linux) --> /opt/SuperCoolProgram or /usr/local/SuperCoolProgram

On Windows, people are likely to know the installation path if they override
the default. On Mac and Linux, the "application" paradigm is a little
different. Config files don't always go in the same location as the
executable. So users may not have a clue where the config file lives even if
they installed to the default location and they know where the executable
lives. For example, the executable might live in /usr/local/bin, but the
config file might be in /usr/local/lib, or even a hidden directory in the
users home dir, like ~/.superCoolProgram/file.cfg.


Richard S.


From: "Leonard C. Porrello" <Leonard -dot- Porrello -at- SoleraTec -dot- com>

* The applications I am documenting runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac. In
several places, I need to indicate to users that the files they need are
located at the application installation location on the hard drive. In
Windows, this is "c:/Program files/Product_Name/Folder/File**.cfg". In
Linux, the path is different, starting from the fact that there is no

I need a convention to indicate path prior to
"/Product_Name/Folder/File.cfg**". The convention needs to work for
Windows, Linux, and Mac.

I currently have ellipses (".../Product_Name/Folder"), but my
development lead tells me that this won't do as ellipses are sometimes
used literally. Does anyone have any other ideas?


Leonard C. Porrello
SoleraTec LLC*

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