Case Sensitive Programming Languages

Instructor: David Gloag

David has over 40 years of industry experience in software development and information technology and a bachelor of computer science

In this lesson, we'll take a look at programming languages, what they are, and what case sensitivity is. Then learn why case sensitive languages are important, and some examples of languages that are case sensitive.

Technology in Our World

We live in a technology-based society. As a result, it's difficult to imagine life without computers. They are in almost every device we use. Our cell phones have them, our televisions have them, and sometime in the near future, our refrigerators will have them with the Internet of Things (IoT) movement. They control the specifics of how the device performs and the features it provides. You won't be surprised to learn then that some means to control these computers are needed. There needs to be a way to give them instructions that determines how they will operate. One such means is using a programming language.

What is a Programming Language?

A programming language is a collection of commands, designed to be combined in a variety of ways, that control the operation of a computer. Think of them like any spoken language, for example, English. You have a series of symbols (words in a spoken language), that you combine to convey meaning to a computer. Like spoken languages, computer languages are meant to be easy to read and understand by those that use them. However, some knowledge of the programming language is required for this understanding. There are many different programming languages available, and they vary in purpose, makeup, and case sensitivity.

What is Case Sensitivity?

Case sensitivity is the phrase used to describe a programming languages ability to distinguish between upper and lower case versions of a letter in the language's character set. For example, the letter 'a' is considered different than the letter 'A'. In fact, internally, the computer sees an 'a' as 97, where as an 'A' is seen as 65. Note that this is according to the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII). There are other representations possible, like Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code (EBCDIC), but in each case the values for upper and lower case are different. This means that identifiers like 'access' are considered different than 'Access' in a language of this type.

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