Case sensitivity

Alex Martelli aleax at
Sat Feb 22 08:21:14 CET 2003

Terry Reedy wrote:

> "David Mertz" <mertz at> wrote in message
> news:mailman.1045884482.29220.python-list at
>>     Names, keywords, numbers, and other "semantic" aspects of the
>>     language FOO can vary in their precise spelling.
> If such items are not to be case sensitive, then I think they should
> all be one case, like in Fortran and some Basics.

All Fortran compilers I've used in the last 25 years accept and ignore
case variations -- and I've used so many I've lost count.  This might
not be mandated by the Fortran standard, but everybody extended it.
(Adding arbitrary *space*, even inside an identifier, which IS mandated
by at least the Fortran IV standard, WOULD break quite a few of those
compilers, OTOH -- de facto vs de jure).

If a smart editor wants to standardize capitalization, like e.g. Visual
Basic's does, no problem.  That's an editor issue, not a language one.

>> For example, "bar"  and "BAR" name the same variable;
> and Bar, BAr, bAr, bAR, baR, and  BaR.  For some reason, seeing that
> makes me want to screem.  I think our brains really are wired
> differently in this area.

This is quite possible.  I've long known my intellectual bent is strongly
verbal as opposed to visual, with an imbalance between the two that
is apparently way more pronounced than the norm.  But a simple smart
editor can fix your complaint most easily, while the displeasure _I_ feel in
having x and X be different names isn't so easily fixed;-).


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