Case sensitivity

Anna revanna at
Sat Feb 22 04:57:20 CET 2003

On Fri, 21 Feb 2003 21:24:07 +0000, David Mertz wrote:

> |Alex Martelli wrote:
> |> Case sensitivity, while still small, is worse, because it recurs
> |> EVERY time you use a large module for which you have not fully
> |> memorized every case choice -- it keeps hurting your productivity
> |> because you DO have to memorize, or check, every such detail,
> |> forever.
> Erik Max Francis <max at> wrote previously:
> |Is the overhead between 1. remembering the thing's name and 2.
> |remembering the way it's spelled taking into account conventions and
> |case _all_ that significant?

Yes - when it makes a difference in what the thing *is*...

How many languages do you speak? Natural languages, that is... I speak
several. I tried to learn vietnamese once... Gave it up. I tried to ask a
girl something simple like "what's your name" or "how old are you" (I
don't remember the exact question, this was a long time ago) and she
thought I was offering her an apple! Not because of my pronunciation but
because of the *TONE* of my voice - where my voice rose and fell... In
that language, that was significant - it made a difference in meaning. And
I simply couldn't grasp it. I understood it, but I couldn't wrap my head
around it enough to continue studying the language (never mind that I had
already learned Spanish, some German, and later studied Attic Greek,
Russian, and Italian...) This one was out of my league because the
overhead (as you call it) was too high.

For SQO beginners (and apparently some non-beginners as well) the overhead
on remembering case along with the thing's name *is* too high.

Is it a deal-breaker? No. Is it a pain in the neck? Yes.

> I'm not a beginner.  I've programmed for more than two decades.  I write
> books and articles about programming.  I've worked in a score of
> different programming languages.  But it is still a DAILY occurrences
> that I trip up on casing issues when writing Python code.  I expect that
> it will continue to be a daily thing until I die, or stop using Python.
> These little trip-ups hardly make Python bad, or really -difficult- to
> use... but they certainly make it just a little bit less easy than it
> would be with case-insensitivity.
> Yours, David

Thank you for posting this.

I guess I have to say, from a beginner's POV, it's kinda annoying to type
in something like mx.DateTime.Today and have it tell me it doesn't know
what I'm talking about. (Sorry for using that as an example, but Alex
mentioned it earlier and I happen to use that module probably more than
any other in my work uses... so I'm somewhat familiar with it.) So, then I
had to remember how to do a dir and figure out if my memory was failing me
or if I'd really seen a Today function in the module... and lo and behold,
there was. But unlike everything else I'd used in that module so far, it
was all lowercase. And yeah, I read M-A Lemburg's explanation of this...
I'm still figuring out what all those words mean...)

I don't get a chance to do much programming at work, so it's been a very
slow process of learning, but, it's fun! Except for the frustration of
having to look things up that I thought I knew... but, hey! at least it's
a *WORD* and not some wierd symbol thingie... I can deal with words...

Just my $.03 worth.
What good are words if you can't play with them?

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