Any conventions for naming Storyline objects/layers/slides?

Jun 26, 2012

Hi, all. 

Do you have any conventions that you use for naming Storyline objects, layers, slides, variables, etc.?

I'm part of a team that is working to develop a series of Storyline modules as part of a pretty extensive e-learning course with a very tight development schedule. After having developed the first 4 modules, we're thinking that it potentially might make our work more easier and more efficient if we were to decide on some naming conventions (e.g., "B -" to start the name of an object that serves as a button). Then when any of us work with a module that another of us has developed initially, it will take less time to figure out how the module is constructed.

I'd appreciate your thoughts about naming naming conventions that you use or have heard about.


6 Replies
Steve Flowers

Hi, Jim - 

I think that's a great suggestion if you're dealing with a large number of objects / variables. Organizing in a logical sortable order will definitely help in selecting objects for state conditions and variable type sorting. One of the problems we've seen with "best practices" in the past is the tendency to over formalize / over engineer standards. Keep it simple, natural and consistent and things should work out great.

From my Flash development days, here are a few recommendations that can be helpful:

  • Use groups (folders in Flash) when objects on a base layer or added layer stack up. This helps to lock down those objects and reduces the height of the timeline. My rule of thumb is 10 or more in Flash. Object layers are taller in Storyline, so I'd probably drop that number to between 5 and 10 to start thinking about a group. Groups offer other benefits. Groups can also cause other problems. 
  • I sometimes use layers as "functions" to hold a heap of triggers I want to execute on call. I try to remember to name these layers as I would any other function (doSomething()). 
  • For variables, it could be helpful to sort by type (tTextVar, nNumberVar, bBoleanVar, jsJavaScriptExchangeVar). I rarely use enough variables to make this necessary but it could be useful in some situations.
  • For other objects, consider a simple naming for buttons (bt_AButton), images (img_AnImage), draggable objects (dr_ADragObject), drag targets (dt_ADragTarget), or a multi-state object (mt_AMultiStateObject).

The bigger issue is the naming of the frames of the experience itself. The segments and content screens or activities. I use a simple naming convention for these as well -- s1c1, s1c2, s1c3, etc.. I add a variable called storyboard to the story and set the variable to the value of the correlating screen in the design. It helps when you can refer to everything by a core naming convention -- particularly when reviewers can report issues / changes by this number. I name all of my transcript files this way s1c1_a.txt and generate temporary audio files. There's a connected flow when stuff matches up. Seems simple but I've met plenty of folks that don't have a cohesive media build process and I don't know how they keep stuff straight for larger projects

I think this is more about retaining sanity than anything else. Things can get hectic in a crunch. Sharing templates, graphics, and external production structures can get hairy if there's not a single way to identify what goes with what.

Storyline is pretty new out the gate and it offers some unique affordances. What works will depend on the size of your team and the scope of development. Simple, natural, and consistent should make sure this is relatively painless.