Thursday, February 23, 2006


Programmers and Spelling

I am currently working with a group that contains some very poor spellers. That's fine—I understand that the ability to remember arbitrary word spellings has nothing to do with one's intelligence or attention to detail. What does bother me is that when I point out a misspelling, they chuckle, make a joke about "the Spelling Police," and then refuse to make corrections.

It's not just an aesthetic issue. It really does have a negative effect on my productivity if I need to remember to type quanity, catagory, seaquence, seperaters, or IsNetworkOkey while I'm writing code that works with their stuff. Programmers' editors with auto-completion features make it easier to be consistently incorrect than it once was, but it still slows me down.

One day, while tracking down a bug with cash accounting, I searched the code for every instance of the word denomination. I looked at all the places where it was used, and couldn't find a problem. While continuing to browse, I started noticing additional cash-counting code that hadn't turned up in my search. It turned out that the boss has spelled the word as demonination (note the m's and n's) in about half the places. He knew it was spelled wrong, but it amused him, so he left it that way. What fun!

I just don't understand why anybody would want to leave misspellings in place. I don't spell perfectly, but when someone points out mistakes, I want to correct them. But they are so proud of their creative spellings, I'll just have to pretend to enjoy them too.

I've downplayed the aesthetic aspect of poor spelling, but it really is the ugliness that bothers me most. I hate working with crap. It's demoralizing to know that others don't care.

One of these days, when everybody is busy doing something else and nobody is paying attention to this code anymore, I'm going to go in and fix everything myself. Then maybe I can be proud of this stuff, and the Spelling Police will have the last laugh.

Here here! (Though I cain't spel eather)

I'm thankful for automatic refactoring, like in Eclipse. Makes these concerns easily fixed in seconds - even across an entire project of files.
From here
Misspelling or Bad Spelling. Why many English words are not written as they are pronounced?
Spelling English language at best is unforeseen, sometimes absolutely chaotic.
With this idea, certainly, agree schoolchildren and who studies English language
all over the world. However researchers of English language assure, that English
language has no rules of spelling only for 400 words. The majority of these
words are the most used in English language, unfortunately.
Egads. If I could fire the "I knew demonination was incorrect but I didn't fix it because I thought it was funny"-guy, I would.

Programming is hard enough without needing to do fuzzy-searches for words.

On the other hand, sounds like 'denomination' is a term that needs renaming. Albeit, I'm not familiar with the domain.
I agree that "denomination" is too long and too hard to type. Abbreviating it to "denom" might be a good idea, but then I suspect people would enjoy re-spelling it as "demon".

The domain here is counting the various types of currency that get inserted in a vending machine.
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