Case-sensitivity: why -- or why not? (was Re: Damnation!)

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Christopher Browne

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May 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/25/00
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Centuries ago, Nostradamus foresaw a time when Andrew Henshaw would say:
>Ben Cornett wrote:
>>
>>this IS An exAmple oF WHat I meaNt WHEn I SAid "vOtIng DoesN'T HElP".
>>
>...snip...
>The interesting thing about this is that I could read it. A case-insensitive
>compiler couldn't handle a single case flip. That's why I don't understand
>the argument that (English-speaking) humans are case sensitive. In general
>we're not. We prefer that everyone follow case-usage rules, but we don't
>require it. In my opinion, that's the way programming should work. I would
>like to read a program that followed case usage for readability; but, I
>don't want an interpreter to barf when case is ignored.
>
>If I name a function 'Function', then I'm doing it for readability; but, when
>I'm in the interpreter, I want to type 'function'. Particularly because of
>its interactive environment, I find the argument for a case-preserving,
>case-insensitive Python very compelling.

I _tend_ to agree with the notion of "case preservation" but "case
insensitivity" for language symbols.

1. Certainly, someone who produces code like:

mainProgram (argc, argv) {
int MainProgram = 2;
char *mainprogram ="This is the program!";
}
should get thrashed severely with a cluestick.

2. I always disliked the way that Modula 2 (and related languages)
enforced that keywords _HAD_ to be capitalized.

I'm allowed to be schizophrenic about this; I _also_ find it
irritating when certain denizens of newsgroups deliberately
_refuse_ to capitalize words at the beginnings of sentences.
(There's no need to expound on _why_ it is, #erik, I know what your
intent is.)

3. I'm not sure what the best way to cope with "preservation" is.
That's the reason why I only _tend_ to agree...

This is an issue that tends to "bite" in Common Lisp, and has
certainly been explored there over the decades, so I'll bounce this
over there to see if there are _useful_ comments that might be made.
--
cbbr...@acm.org - <http://www.ntlug.org/~cbbrowne/languages.html>
:FATAL ERROR -- ERROR IN USER

Robert Monfera

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May 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/25/00
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Christopher Browne wrote:

> I _also_ find it
> irritating when certain denizens of newsgroups deliberately
> _refuse_ to capitalize words at the beginnings of sentences.

There is an interesting variation: some of those denizens do capitalize
the beginning of sentences as long as the sentence starts with the word
"I", while others give the same salute to themselves as to others.

Robert

Erik Naggum

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May 26, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/26/00
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* Christopher Browne
| I'm allowed to be schizophrenic about this; I _also_ find it

| irritating when certain denizens of newsgroups deliberately
| _refuse_ to capitalize words at the beginnings of sentences.
| (There's no need to expound on _why_ it is, #erik, I know what
| your intent is.)

_I'm_ irritated by people who don't pay attention while they expound
on their irritations. #erik is wrong, by the way; #:Erik is right.

#:Erik
--
If this is not what you expected, please alter your expectations.

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