What's in a name?

Huaiyu Zhu hzhu at rocket.knowledgetrack.com
Wed May 24 19:41:09 EDT 2000

On Wed, 24 May 2000 14:57:10 -0500, Edward S. Vinyard
<vinyard at arlut.utexas.edu> wrote: 
>On Wed, 24 May 2000, Thomas Thiele wrote:
>>> 1. Remove a (potential) hurdle for new programmers.
>Case-sensitivity by itself is probably not a hurdle.  Learning to
>recognize the (possibly implicit) convention a specific library, module,
>or programmer uses to convey semantic information using case might be more
>difficult, especially for someone who is not familiar with a language or
>common conventions.

This is exactly why case-insensitivity is not a good proposal:

o There is little problem in current python for newbies - they can use all
  lower case in their own programs if they want to.

o What the proposal does is to ban experienced programers from using the
  expanded name space lest their codes confuse newbies.

While this might hinder the work of many programmers, it would not help
newbies, who, instead of being troubled by the intricacies of
    car = Car()
now have to battle with
    objectOfCar = classOfCar()

IMHO, case insensitivity breaks a lot and helps few.  Many good remedies
have been proposed in this thread that would achieve far more while
breaking much less.  Like helpful error messages, case-aware editors,
syntactic highlighting of new names, better styles, ...

There is a fundamental reason why case belongs to editor, not interpreter:
Everyone can use his own well-configured and incompatible editor, but
imagine if everyone is using his own patched and incompatible python ...


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