Case sensitivity

Dave Kuhlman dkuhlman at
Sat Feb 22 01:42:21 CET 2003

> Alex Martelli wrote:

>>>Beginners should get used to this style of programming, like they get
>>>used to block idents in Python. That is my opinion.
>> So introduce a beginner to the excellent and very useful
>> module mx.DateTime and explain to him, or her, how and
>> why he or she needs to memorize (or continuosly check or
>> try) that the functions named (e.g.) 'today', 'localtime',
>> or 'add_century' MUST be lowercase, while (e.g.) functions
>> 'TimeFrom' and 'Age' and 'Time' MUST be mixed-case.  Pah.
>  >

As long as we have Alex wound up, it's a shame to let him sit down so soon.

Let me carry this a bit further.  If there is no real value in 
distinguishing between 'add_century' and 'Add_century', then perhaps there 
is no need to distinguish between 'add_century' and 'addcentury'.  And, if 
there is no other variable that begins with 'addcen', then the 
compiler/interpreter should let me use 'addcen' as a replacement for 
'addcentury', and, by extension, for 'add_century'.

I have several comments about that:

1. Teaching this in a beginner's programming class would encourage new 
programmers to be careless and lazy.  I don't think we want to do that.

2. I believe that a language that allowed me to use these close but not 
exact spellings would enable the compiler/interpreter to "trick" me into 
making programming errors, for example, referencing the wrong variable or 

3. If, during a job interview, I heard a job applicant say something like: 
"In the programming language that I'm used to, we don't worry about 
spelling variables, functions, and so on correctly; we're not that fussy.", 
I believe I'd be concerned about that.

A language that is case-insensitive encourages a similar type of laziness.  
I don't want it to do that.

  - Dave

Dave Kuhlman
dkuhlman at

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