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Opinion: I don't agree with case sensitivity


Remember, please, that for years I've happily done most of my work in C# and Java. So this is not a flame from a stick-in-the-mud VB-only guy with one-sided experience.

The case of sensitivity is long debated issue. The most used - and most wrongly ragged on - programming tool in the world is still VB and it is "Case Aware" not case-sensitive. That productivity tool was created to make Windows solutions faster to market for and by the people who know the needs, so it favored human-logic over geek-insider logic.

Many fans of other programming tools and languages fail to see the positive benefits of dropping case-sensitivity due to their "training" and resulting comfort zones, 'wanna-be-geeks-like-unixers-isms' and - mostly - disdain for the regular people who were able to get things done on computers without having to depend on an elite Developerati.

This anti-productivity bent is often hailed to the level of silliness. Anders Hejlsberg is the Masterbuilder of C# and one of the Supreme Leaders of the .Net universe. But before moving to Microsoft, he was the creator of the tool Delphi which came off of his creation of TurboPascal. As such, for many years he had a real business need to hate that other tool; it was his biggest competition and it ate his lunch year after year after year after year. He is very smart. He is also human, and as such his hatred has not diminished even though he now works for the company that created his previous baby's archnemesis.

About a month ago, my VS2008 Start Page featured a link to an interview with Hejlsberg where he answered the question 'how do you see developers working in the years ahead?'. He laughed about how years ago everyone thought that development would be done "in the future" by just speaking into their computers and yet we are all still using keyboards.

This shows the deep tendrils case-sensitvity has wrapped around many brainstems, like the creatures in Heinlein's Puppet Masters.


The reality is that Developers CAN already code by talking into their machines or, if they prefer, by writing their code longhand. It's been a reality at the OS-level since XP-TabletPC2005 and is now available to every developer using Vista (and 3rd party tools such as Dragon Naturally Speaking also make it simple). The reason C#, Java, C++ and many other developer silos think it can't be done is because their languages and the tools for those languages are case-sensitive so the recognition systems will fail to get the spoken casing correct and the code won't compile. But if they used a case-aware language with a more advanced compiler then... you got it: they'd be able to do the magical coding that they dreamed of.

Case-sensitivity is "right"? With all due respect, Feh to that. Case-sensitivity is nothing more than a limitation of the technology for the early OSes and compilers that evolved into a habit and then a tradition and then a dogma.

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