4
About Those Ugly Prefixes in Folder Names in ‘Group Containers’

At the end of my piece last night about the location of the Apple Podcast app’s cache folder on MacOS 10.15, I griped about how ugly the folder’s name is: “243LU875E5.groups.com.apple.podcasts”. Most of the folders in Group Containers have similar ugly prefixes.

I figured there was a logical explanation, and there is: those prefixes are Apple Developer Account Team IDs, and according to Apple’s documentation, they’re mandatory:

The value for this key must be of type array, and must contain one or more string values, each of which must consist of your development team ID, followed by a period, followed by an arbitrary name chosen by your development team. For example: com.apple.security.application-groups

<array>
  <string>DG29478A379Q6483R9214.HolstFirstAppSuite</string>
  <string>DG29478A379Q6483R9214.HolstSecondAppSuite</string>
</array>

Just because there’s a reason for this doesn’t make it a good reason. There are logical reasons why the Windows Registry is the way it is, but that doesn’t make an elegant, graceful design. Mac OS X inherited an elegant, graceful design for the layout and naming conventions of the entire Library hierarchy (not to mention the elegance of the separate System, Local, Network, and User domains for the Library). There’s no reason the naming and structure for everything in Library not to be friendly both to developers and users looking there to troubleshoot or simply to figure out how things work.

Like I wrote last night, arguing that it doesn’t matter if these identifiers are ugly and inscrutable (and break alphabetical sorting) because most users will never see them is exactly like arguing that it doesn’t matter what the back of the cabinet looks like.

Monday, 24 February 2020