Saturday, 9 April 2011

CamelCase Gives me the Hump

I would never have believed it but my choice of camelCase – sometimes known as medial capitalisation – seems to have gotten up the nose of one or two of my reviewers, so it is probably useful to remind them of what camelCase is and to tell them why I used it when I was writing The Demi-Monde series of books.

To put it in a nutshell camelCase is the insertion of a capital letter into the middle of a word for stylistic or functional reasons. As it produces a ‘hump’ in the word some wag thought it sensible to call it camelCase. Now this grammatical oddity isn't as unusually as you might imagine, we meet camelCase everyday: think ‘MacDonald’, ‘iPad’, ‘AstroTurf’, ‘WikiLeaks’ and ‘NaCl’. But although the use of camelCase is centuries old it became really evident and popular when computer programmers had to write multiword identifiers without the use of spaces between the words because these foxed the programs. This trickled down into the lexicon of designers and suddenly the use of camelCase became very hip.

It was because of this association with computer programming that I was first attracted to the use of camelCase. The Demi-Monde is a virtual world, platformed on the world’s first quantum computer, ABBA, so when I was developing the religions and the philosophies I would use in this world it seemed natural to me that ABBA would put a camelCase twist on their names. Hence UnFunDaMentalism, HerEticalism, LessBienism and the rest.

But there was another reason I used it. I’m writing about a world where there are eight religions and any number of sub-cults. Now it is asking a lot of my readers to remember what each of them are and what they stand for without there being some form of aide memoire. And this is where camelCase really came into its own: hence HimPerialism is the religion which promotes the supremacy of men; Suffer-O-Gettism is the extreme feminist cult dedicated to the subjugation of men, etc. etc.

I hope this explains things and persuades some of my more didactic reviewers to cut me just a little slack!

1 comment:

  1. really? that's all that people have to gripe about? I found not problem with it at all when I read The Demi Monde. Man, some people are sooo
    easily stirred.