Language change and code breaks

Michael Chermside mcherm at
Wed Jul 18 14:01:00 EDT 2001

Roman (ironicly):
> > Windows is case-insensitive and thus "easy to use" only before one needs
> > to put web-pages on the real (UNIX) web-server. Then they understand all
> > the troubles with mised case, national-charset filenames, abbr~ted
> > filenames, local file references "C:\Mydocs\lalala", bmp-images etc.

> But it's still open for debate whether the problem here is Windows or
> Unix! 

I'm very surprised to hear this. Yes, I've taught lots of beginners, and
I've found that they often complain about the case sensitivity. But I
tell them that "Computers are EXTREMELY literal", and "you must be VERY
precise when programming", and they get it. I also get complaints (not
so many) about the computer not understanding a mis-spelled system call.

It seems to me that whether the language requires case sensitivity or
not, it is still very poor style to vary the capitalization of a given
identifier. It's kind of like indentation... and (in Pascal, C, Basic,
and other non-Python languages) I mark my student's programs WRONG if
they don't use consistant indenting.

Don't encourage sloppy habits: require case sensitivity.

Besides... if you make identifiers NOT case sensitive, then when they
try opening files or URLs and find that those ARE... they'll REALLY
have problems.

-- Michael Chermside

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