Your data submission contains illegal characters


The project name contains illegal characters

From Shutterfly.

I had just typed the name of a project to save in a text field and pressed the “save” button. There were no mention of any characters I couldn’t use. But, it was clear (only because I’ve seen programmers make stupid choices like this in the past), that the apostrophe I had used in the project name wasn’t allowed.

Don’t subject users to silly restrictions like this. What kind of architecture/design doesn’t allow apostrophes to be used in the name of something like this? I realize file systems have some interesting restrictions — but if this isn’t being stored in a database … then, yikes, what are they doing? If I had not already invested a lot of time uploading photos, selecting photos, etc., I would have abandoned them entirely and moved on to their competitors (with what amounts to be the world’s most unreliable uploader from what I could tell — I had to try to upload some photos 6 or 7 times before it was successful!!!!!),

(Just so happens that I was signed up as a new user and had a whole bunch of free prints from Amazon — so I couldn’t complain about the price. However, I’ll not return to them.)

I hope the prints turn out better than their web site design and implementation.


  1. Perhaps they’re not storing the images in the database but as an actual file and is just saving the file pathname in the database. I’ve heard pros/cons of storing large objects such as pictures vs. storing them on the file system to it to keep the database small and fast.

    However, I guess they could’ve just stored the filename you want in the database, and generate a GUID or something for the actual filename — if they’re saving it outside of the database.

  2. I definitely wouldn’t store photos in a database, instead I’d store them in a file system. But as you suggested, they could easily rename the incoming files and store the new file name only in the database.

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