What's in a name?

Edward S. Vinyard vinyard at arlut.utexas.edu
Thu May 25 15:35:54 CEST 2000


On Thu, 25 May 2000, Shae Erisson wrote:
>"Edward S. Vinyard" wrote:
>> My intent was to stimulate discussion along these lines, rather than
>> rehash the case sensitivity vs. case insensitivity arguments that have
>> been presented in other threads on this newsgroup.  I apologize if this
>> was not clear from my original messages.
>
>The case-sensitive issue just might be the same as the whitespace issue.
>Python's unconvential approach works quite well for me in whitespace,
>I'm willing to give another unconvential approach a chance at least.

Other posts to this thread continue to compare the use of capitalization
in Python to the use of capitalization in English, which makes no more
sense than comparing their respective uses of whitespace.  Syntax in
English obviously has little to do with syntax in Python! :-)

Languages with block delimiters don't require the use of whitespace, but
most programmers make use of whitespace to impart some implicit semantic
meaning (grouping blocks of code together).  Python requires this
whitespace, making block delimiters unnecessary, and making the semantic
information provided by whitespace standard.

Martijn Faassen pointed out that making the language case insensitive
would have the opposite effect that whitespace block delimiters have, and
I agree.  Case insensitivity by itself removes the implicit information
that some Python programmers embed in capitalization entirely.  Case
sensitivity by itself only makes the convention implicit and nonstandard.

For example, forcing the first letter of class names to be capitalized
makes it visually clear which names are classes.  I enjoy Python's lack of
block delimiters and I think I would enjoy the lack of implicitness here,
too.

Ed




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