[Python-Dev] FW: Case Sensitivity: Survey Results

Tim Peters tim.one@home.com
Sun, 19 Aug 2001 18:46:54 -0400

Wow, Sheila really worked on this!  Check out her web site.

-----Original Message-----
From: python-list-admin@python.org
[mailto:python-list-admin@python.org]On Behalf Of Sheila King
Sent: Saturday, August 18, 2001 2:25 AM
To: python-list@python.org
Subject: Case Sensitivity: Survey Results

In response to this message:

which continued the discussion about case sensitivity in the Python
language, I announced my intention to conduct a survey of computer
science teachers on this issue, here:

The survey is now complete and results are available.
I received a total of 129 responses. 

For summaries and to read the actual responses, you can go here:

My take on the whole thing, is this:

The overwhelming majority of teachers surveyed on this topic felt it was
a non-issue (well over 80% of them). They felt that students have either
little or no difficulty due to case-sensitivity.

Perhaps, if one were designing a language from scratch (which is no
longer the case with Python), it would be reasonable to adopt
case-insensitivity. It seems there is little benefit to be derived from
case-sensitivity (although some respondents felt that precision in
approach and thinking, richness in language and naming choices, plus
compiler efficiency made sensitivity preferable). So, in the interest of
generating fewer error messages, insensitivity may be preferable.

However, given that this was felt to be an extremely minor issue, I see
no reason to entertain the issue of changing an already existing
programming language either from case-sensitive to case-insensitive or
vice-versa. There would be little to be gained, and certainly it would
not justify backward compatibility issues with already existing code.
Time would be better spent developing better error messages, or more
friendly programming environments for the beginner.

As I said, that is my take on this issue, and I feel that it is
supported by the survey results.

More details on the results of the survey, including all responses to
the survey, are online here:

Sheila King