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

Charles Boncelet boncelet at
Fri May 26 03:45:56 CEST 2000

Mike Fletcher wrote:
> Personally, I have been bit by case problems probably five or six times (in
> five years or so).  That said, I find working with case insensitive
> languages difficult to the point where I will not use them (particularly in
> large projects, and particularly where there are multiple people working on
> the project).  In general, I find that I don't "read" variables, rather I 
>"recognize" them as I gaze at entire blocks of code, largely based on their
> graphic representation (which is largely based on the pattern of character
> glyphs). Case insensitive languages make this "recognition" difficult
> (particularly when different programmers use different capitalization
> patterns).
(I've been trying to avoid this thread, but it won't die.)

My vote: retain case sensitivity.
1. Exactly as said above, I find it difficult to read case insensitive
2. In English (as in many other languagues) proper use of case adds to
intelligibility. I can't site references, but my opinion is that
consistent use of case adds to the intelligibility of computer
languages. Case insensitive languages are harder to read because they do
not enforce case discipline.
3. In mathematics, one often uses case to distinguish variables.  Much
mathematical code looks like this: 
	for n in range(N):
		Y[n] = FFT(y[n])
I find this more readable than:
	for n in range(numberofvaribles):
		fftofy[n] = FFT(y[n])
(This, of course, is a matter of style and preference.)
Charles Boncelet, University of Delaware, <boncelet at>
On sabbatical at ADFA, Canberra Australia, <boncelet at>
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