Case sensitive and ludicrous statements

Douglas Alan nessus at mit.edu
Mon Dec 8 22:07:39 CET 2003


"rzed" <Dick.Zantow at lexisnexis.com> writes:

> Douglas Alan wrote:

>> I used Pascal in the very late '70's and very early '80's, and I
>> never saw anyone use CamelCase in it.  And now that David Epstein
>> has jogged my memory -- it is indeed in SmallTalk that I first saw
>> people using CamelCase, and, I must say, I was rather aghast.
>>
>> IfCamelCaseWereAGoodIdeaEvenInACaseSensitiveLanguage,thenPeopleWouldWriteLike>> ThisAllTheTime.
>>
>> |>oug

> There's nothing about case standards that suggests that removing
> spaces between lexical units is a good thing.

Right -- removing spaces is not a good idea, because spaces aid in
readability.  The traditional (i.e. pre-CamelCase) way of separating
words in indentifies was to use dashes or underscores.  As in,

If-dashes-used-to-seperates-words-within-identifiers-were-a-good-idea-
then-everyone-would-write-like-this-all-the-time.

And they probably would, if there weren't able to use spaces.  It's
much more readable than the CamelCase version.

> In any event, it would
> be preferable to
> "IFCAMELCASEWEREAGOODIDEAEVENINACASESENSITIVELANGUAGE,
> THENPEOPLEWOULDWRITELIKETHISALLTHETIME." in either a case-sensitive or
> case-insensitive language.

That's for sure, but I don't think that that idea is on the table.
It's always been common, when not using CamelCase, to use dashes or
underscores.

> The worst-case (as it were) scenario that I can remember happened when
> I was working with PL/I on an IBM mainframe, using 3270 terminals.
> This was a case-insensitive language, so some people adopted the
> conventions others have mentioned (constants in ALL_CAPS, functions
> and procedures in camelCase (sometimes) -- but some didn't. Some coded
> with the terminal set to *display* all caps (which allowed typing in
> lower case without being aware of it), and some didn't. Some of each
> group modified the code of programmers from the other group, and when
> the terminals displayed case as entered, the result was an unholy
> hodgepodge of upper and lower case clumps of letters in the oddest
> places imaginable. There was no apparent rhyme or reason to the case
> changes, even though everyone was utterly systematic about how they
> did their coding.

All the more reason to standardize on dashes or underscores.

> The reason people chose to mix their cases is that one-case code is
> difficult to read.

no it isn't.  it isn't even difficult to read one-case english.

|>oug




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