There are many different rules used for scrunching together multiple words. These apply in many programming languages, and in Wiki, and possibly some other places.
The purpose of this page is to define the commonly accepted usages of some terms. In keeping with WikiNature, please add to or edit this list to indicate your own impression of common usage. Some rules have more than one definition; life's messy that way.
Many languages don't have the concept of upper case and lower case. Languages based on Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek alphabets do, but many others do not. Native speakers of those languages sometimes have difficulty in understanding the CamelCase derivatives which use only capitalization to separate words.
There are, in fact, a good number of people in the world who use languages not constructed from these alphabets. I raised the point only because I have had others correct me for not being very inclusive by assuming that everyone easily and comfortably parsed capitalization. When people correct me for not being inclusive, I try very hard to learn from it; thus my raising the point. I suppose that if a JavaLanguage program were being written by a Chinese-speaking developer, with keywords (necessarily) in English, but variables and documentation in Chinese (since Java allows UniCode source), then CamelCase would be a poor variable-naming standard. -- MichaelChermside
There are a good number of people, true, but how large a fraction of the programmers? If you are at all programming, then you will have some exposure to English, I guess. I may be wildly wrong, of course. -- OleAndersen
Poor compared with what? If the alternative is lowercaseruntogether, that is much, much harder for non-native speakers to parse. Were we to optimize for non-western programmers, I'd be inclined to run with CAPITAL_LETTERS_AND_UNDERSCORES, as capital letters are the canonical forms of the letters. But in practice, at least for Java, I think this is a RedHerring; if a Java program is being written in a language with no letter case, then they obviously can ignore the standard. And if the programmers are non-native speakers writing Java in a roman character set, then they might as well buckle down and learn to deal with CamelCase, as the Java libraries use it extensively. -- William Pietri
On the other hand, lowercase letters are easier to read than uppercase letters (even for native speakers of English), so I'd be inclined to run with lower_case_letters_and_underscores. -- DavidCary
Presumably if the programmer is familiar enough with the alphabet to be able to use the names, he will have picked up on the difference between upper and lower case. [Languages aren't constructed from writing, as transliteration and spelling variation show, and capitalization did not make its way into our alphabets until the middle ages. It didn't get standardized until the 19th century or so, and then is still varies from place to place - standard German will capitalize every Noun.] [Actually the lowercase is the innovation]
It's arguments like this that make me believe that case sensitivity is one of the worst-ever ideas in software architecture. Just have the compiler warn (or the IDE auto-correct) if a variable has multiple capitalisations. Put the _ key front and center, or just don't use the space character as a delimiter. And now, with Unicode making case-insensitivity harder to implement, we'll be stuck with this forever.
Strictly defining these terms in a consistent way may make it much easier to specify and follow consistent standards within a programming group. For instance, the standard (okay, that's debatable, but it's what Sun uses) JavaLanguage capitalization pattern could be specified as follows:
Moved from CisClusion
Organic chemists and field ecologists know that cis- and trans- are opposite prefixes.
Trans means across, and cis means close. Cismontaine is an environment up on this side of the mountains, and transmontaine is on the FarSide of the divide.
I think we're using cisclusion when we use WikiCase to suggest a term which may or may not have already been discussed. If a word group ends up being followed by a QuestionMark, it implies that eventually someone will click on it and begin to describe that concept, as did the 'P*PatternRepository?' for so many variations on P*: Portland, Plimpton, Plumpton, ... Thank Ward that we were finally able to delete pages.
Upper and lower case
From a purely linguistic point of view, is capitalization part of the language, or part of the presentation? I am inclined to reflexively answer that it is part of the language. However, it may not be that much different from bold, italics, or underline. It's just a way of presenting the content; in almost all cases, capitalization doesn't change meaning. Comments?
Comment: Caps can alter meaning in a limited number of case March v. march, Polish v. polish, etc.
To make this on-topic, relate it to character set design. If you were going to throw EBCDIC, AsciiCode, UniCode, etc. out the window and start over, would your character set differentiate between lower-case and upper-case? Would your character set differentiate between bold and not-bold? Remember, these issues can be handled by rich editors and appropriate fonts.
Capitalization, and the notion of spelling, generally, is both part of language and presentation. Conceptually and linguistically this is known as orthography. -- Greg Lewis