I'm working on the programming interface (public functions) to an API for graphical UI layout. The API does everything in terms of frame objects - simple rectangles in which stuff can be displayed.

I have methods to split these frames in half, either vertically or horizontally, but I'm having trouble coming up with an obvious name for the methods. SplitVertical, for example, could mean either:

  1. split with a vertical line, leaving one half to each side
  2. split into two halves which are arranged vertically (one above the other)

Is there a good way to resolve this ambiguity? Perhaps a more meaningful term?

Note: (to clear up some of the confusion) I am talking about the user interface that exists between the API programmer (myself) and the API end user (an application programmer), not the interface that the application programmers will create for their end users:

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  • This seems like programming question, not a UI one. – Hisham Oct 21 '10 at 5:37
  • Yes, programming questions are off-topic for this site. Although this question would be on topic if you were asking about button labels rather than method names. (Not quite the same thing, but close enough that you may get useful answers.) I hope you don't mind, @e.James, I rephrased your question to make it about UI. – Patrick McElhaney Oct 21 '10 at 12:25
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    @Patrick McElhaney: I don't mind at all, but I'm surprised that all programming questions are automatically off-topic, especially considering that an API is a user interface. It just happens to be an interface whose users are also programmers. – e.James Oct 21 '10 at 12:49
  • @Patrick - a user interface doesn't have to be graphical. – ChrisF Oct 21 '10 at 12:49
  • @ChrisF, @e.James Thanks for your feedback. We're still in beta and still trying to figure some of these things out. I guess questions about designing APIs should be considered on topic. I rolled back the change. – Patrick McElhaney Oct 21 '10 at 13:14

Not sure how well they fit the rest of your API, but how about these:

  • Instead of SplitVertical(), how about DivideIntoColumns()
  • Instead of SplitHorizontal(), how about DivideIntoRows()
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    I like those. Great suggestion! – e.James Oct 24 '10 at 0:26

If the application allows you, you could use icons with labels besides them. something like this: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/432554/ggf.png

or you could create a menu like: Split View: Horizontally | Vertically

But if you ask me, there's no ambiguity with using Split Vertical and Split Horizontal

  • +1 and thank you for the answer. I should have been more clear: I'm writing a programming API, so there are no icons or menus, it is basically a set of public functions that offer access to more advanced behavior. You could be right about the lack of ambiguity, though. Maybe it's just me! – e.James Oct 21 '10 at 4:08

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