Arguing the JSP case

Hi all, there has been some discussion whether regarding the case of the taglib tags. This article is meant as an invitation to a discussion on the subject.

As much as I try to, I cannot understand why anyone would want to write uppercase tags.

The JSR-000052 JavaServer Pages (tm) Standard Tag Library Specification states that:

"JSTL adopts capitalization conventions of Java variables for compound words in action and attribute names. Recommended tag prefixes are kept lowercase. Thus, we have <sql:transaction> and <c:forEach>, as well as attributes such as xmlUrl and varDom."
jsr052, section 2.6

Sun's JSP code Conventions states the following on tag prefix names:

"A tag prefix should be a short yet meaningful noun in title case, and the first character in lower-case. A tag prefix should not contain non-alphabetic characters."

This could imply camel notation, in our case would it mean only lower case, as our taglibs have only one word; article, category, relation, util and so on.

All the Struts Taglibs use lowercase in their documentation:

  1. struts-bean
  2. struts-html
  3. struts-logic
  4. struts-nested

The Prime pro-uppercaes argument

The prime argument for UPPERCASE taglib tags, is that they are easier to spot. While this is true for arcane and hopeless editors, such as notepad, all proper text editors and IDEs support XML and thus highlights both the tag prefix and suffix in different colours, making them easy to differentiate. This argument is therefore not, IMHO, worth its salt.

Strain on Eyes

Lowercase letters are easier on the eyes, UPPERCASE LETTERS SCREAM AT YOU!

Look around

Just about all XML documents everywhere, not forgetting all O'Reilly title I've come by, are written in lowercase

The XHTML does it

Also, the XHTML standard stresses lowercase; the XHTML specification states that:

XHTML documents must use lower case for all HTML element and attribute names.

Time to type

It takes longer to constantly switch case. You either have to switch the capslock key on and off, or press shift while typing the entire tag name. Why go through this, when you don't need to? I believe not all UPPERCASE writers have considered this point. Just try one day, writing everything lowercase and feel the difference in speed and strain on your fingers :-)

So, I ask again (and please take a good think before answering), why do we argue about this, why don't everyone just use lowercase?