OKB (not okblacke)
BrenBarn at aol.com
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."
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