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

Martijn Faassen m.faassen at
Wed May 24 01:14:32 CEST 2000

Paul Jackson <pj at> wrote:

> richard_chamberlain wrote:
>> When we teach our children to write we teach them case sensitivity,

> Ah - but we teach them that case is partially context sensitive.

> Formal names are always capitalized, but most words are only
> capitalized at the start of a sentence.

> Can you imagine it being that "light" meant of little weight,
> whereas a "LIGHT" was a photon emitter, "LIghT" a stream of
> photons, and to "liGHt" something was to set fire to it?

But in fact 'bill' and 'Bill' do have different meanings. There are
more such examples. But in general, there are conventions that have to
do with capitals. In English if something starts with a capital it
may be:

  * the starting word of a sentence

  * a name

(and probably some other cases)

On the net, all capitals is commonly interpreted as SHOUTING.

In Python there are other conventions, but the principle is the
same. Capitals are used with class names, for instance, while all-caps
are often used for constants. The idiom is different, but the fact
that there *is* a consistent idiom for the use of capitals is similar.

> Still, I would caution Guido against making too much of the
> Alice work.  At least in my couple of attempts to introduce
> myself and my son to it, it was not particularly compelling
> (in contrast to, say, Pokemon), nor intuitive, nor (at least
> on my Windows system) stable (that is, it kept crashing).

I can definitely concur with the crashing bit. I never got the
cool 3d drawing extension working on one machine, and on another
machine it worked but seemed to cause crashing. Also that machine
seemed to have nonworking sound, which also caused Alice to crash.


History of the 20th Century: WW1, WW2, WW3?
No, WWW -- Could we be going in the right direction?

More information about the Python-list mailing list