Case sensitivity

OKB (not okblacke) BrenBarn at
Sat Feb 22 01:21:04 CET 2003

Erik Max Francis wrote:

> But he gave you an example (Coke vs. coke), where the difference in
> capitalization matters _enormously_.

    	I think this is an overstated difference.  If I wrote someone an 
email saying "Pick up some coke for the party tonight", I think they 
would know what I meant -- I certainly know which meaning I would 
assume.  Moreover, this example is silly because the distinction is 
between a proper noun and a common noun, and that difference has no real 
counterpart in a computer language.  If I started up a company called 
"Tree", would people suddenly be scratching their heads over how to 
describe plants because of the "name collision" I had introduced?
> My fundamental point when people talk about case-insensitive languages
> is this:  If there's no distinction between case made in the language,
> why let the user make it at all?  All it allows users to do is to use
> differing case conventions that will confuse everybody.

    	I would suggest the opposite -- if case IS sensitive in the 
language, why allow people to use two different cases?  All it does is 
let them create similar-looking names that will confuse everybody.  And 
this danger is far more real, because here the distinction actually has 
effects in the language.  It doesn't make sense to suggest that case 
sensitivity is good simply because a particular convention is commonly 
used -- this has nothing to do with the language design, which is weak 
if it relies on users to capitalize things a certain way but provides no 
structure for this itself.

--OKB (not okblacke)
"Do not follow where the path may lead.  Go, instead, where there is
no path, and leave a trail."
	--author unknown

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