Origin of ConcatenatedNames?

Suddenly they were everywhere.

In the old days when companies merged, they tried to think up a catchy new name, or at worse concatenated the previous names separately like Price Waterhouse, Chase Manhattan and the like. Somewhere in the nineties as I recall this changed: after a merger the spaces were left out, the capitals remained, and we got companies like MobilExxon, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the like.

I always wondered what happened. Did it start as a mistake? Was it caused because the name didn’t fit with the spaces left in? I’m aware that quite possibly no-one knows how this started, but if the answer can be found anywhere, it should be here.

Any takers?

I always (whether correctly or not) associated this with the current information age - it seemed to hit right about the time that that newfangled internet thing. It was online that I remember first seeing concatenated names with any regularity. Sorta like marketing using . and _ in their advertising a lot more.

And people listing their phone number as 123.555.1212. Irks the hell out of me.

ConcatenatedNames became popular along with software for microcomputers back in the early 80’s.
MacWrite, MacPaint, ResEdit, LightSpeed, MacDraw etc. etc. I’m sure that the IBM compatable world was full of such names too, just can’t remember any off the top of my head.

As long as there’s a good reason for it, change is good. It’s a lot easier to type than (123) 555-1212 because you don’t have to use the shift key. In fact, on a standard computer keyboard you can do it all on the numberpad with your right hand.

The first company that I can remember doing this was DaimlerChrysler, which happened back in 1998, ExxonMobil happened about the same time too.

The intercapping does somehow provide an air of being VeryImportant and also, makes sure that the 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) entity in the new corporate name is still visible. It also saves time. It perhaps creates the feeling that we are too busy creating shareholder value to type HypensOrSpaces! :smiley:

I’d always heard it referred to as BiCapitalization. There’s an entry in the Jargon File here, from which I got that phrase. I remember it being applied to products a long time ago (WordPerfect, QuarkXPress, FrameMaker, &c.), but the only company that I remember before DaimlerChrysler was WordPerfect Corp.; however, I don’t think that really counts, as they obviously took the name from the product, and not vice versa.

This is nothing but a WAG, but I always thought it had something to do with early programmers needing to fit asmuchstuffaspossible in every available bit of storage. So you had variables called things like TotalSum, and somebody thought that looked cool and high-tech and started using the pattern elsewhere.

Concatenation, as suggested by others above, comes from computer applications etc…

This in turn comes from computer languages. Variables in computer languages aren’t allowed spaces within them. Therefore when they were named they are concated together with the begining of each word indicated by the capitals.

It’s called CamelCase .

This is quite common in Europe, maybe the style is being copped here to be more international.

Just don’t let us switch decimal points to commas like they do, eecccch!

I think there are two reasons programmers fell upon mixed case identifiers: (1) they were to lazy or uncoordinated to include the underscore character (_) between words, even when it was legal to do so in their language of choice; and (2) many early assemblers and compilers had a severe restriction on identifier length, such as 8 characters total. Any characters beyond that limit would be ignored, so that “gross_income” and “gross_insect”, say, would spuriously represent the same object.

Many early assemblers, compilers and languages recognized only one case. Case distinction only started to make inroads into the desktop world around 1982, with the introduction of the Apple IIe.

Thanks for all the replies! So, CamelCase or BiCapitalization, hmm? I liked the suggestions about the origins, too. Didn’t Unix always recognize capitalization?

Also commonly called mixed case.

Yes. The C programming language, the bedrock of Unix almost from its birth, requires that both lowercase and uppercase letters be available. As a programmer in the language, you’re allowed to use either type of letter in your identifiers, in any arrangement. Some C style guides try to encourage a naming convention of all lowercase letters with interword underscores (e.g. “net_profit”, instead of “netProfit” or “NetProfit”), and there is a small but noticeable faction of C/C++ programmers who write in this style. However, mixed case seems to have won the day by a landslide.

(Mixed case is also the officially supported naming convention of the Java programming language, which has had some additional popular influence.)

Moreover, Unix file systems are generally case-sensitive (or at least case-preserving), and therefore some people use mixed case for filenames when they wish to avoid interword spaces, or when they’re too lazy to type any separator character at all. Or, they might even do this to accomodate file transport to a non-Unix system, where spaces, dashes, or underscores might not be permissible characters.

So to summarize, there are several reasons why computer people often use mixed case instead of “proper” orthography. From out of the computer world, this style has spread into the general world, especially into high-tech companies that want to seem futuristic and really on top of things. That’s the theory I offer anyway.

Quirky computer conventions also explain the typographic abomination known as “.NET”, which makes itself a nuisance to alphabetize and search for, and is only slightly less churlish than Prince’s changing his name to a made-up symbol.

AFAIK, camel case is where there’s an intial lower-case letter, then mixed case; Pascal case is where the initial letter, and the rest of the token, are mixed case.


You are thinking of Hungarian notation which, although usually used with CamelCase, isn’t the same thing.

Hungarian is not a captialization rule - it’s a word composition rule. Hungarian naming just means that you attach some prefix to the identifier, which, yes, usually begins with a lower-case letter but not always as in “CSomeClass” or “IUnknown”, to indicate that identifier’s type or usage. e.g. intMyAge, strMyName, m_MemberVariable, g_GlobalVariable.

Camel case does refer to the capitalization of the identifier - however I didn’t know that some people consider camel case and Pascal Case synonymous. In the worlds of Java and .NET, I’ve always seen camel case used to mean an initial lower case letter then mixed case.

Cites: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dnvsgen/html/hunganotat.asp

“Some hold that camel case words must begin with a lowercase letter (thisIsAnExample), others not”

I use a modified version of Hungarian notation. There’s a number of variations about, but in mine the first capital indicates the start of the name proper, so the type prefixes are always lowercase.

However I did also use PascalCase when learning Pascal. CamelCase (and Hungarian) came along with C. But it seems they’re all a mix of a similar idea, whatever you term it, and no-one’s got the definitive definitions.

I still use Hungarian and CamelCase through habit and a revulsion of underscores, which are just plug ugly imposters trying and failing to be spaces. :slight_smile: It would appear that marketing and image consultants agree. You never see the likes of “Mobil_Exxon”.

I’ve always called these abominations DumbCaps.

Oh, and nitpick (sorry, NitPick): it’s PricewaterhouseCoopers. I don’t know why the W got deDumbCapified.

So that PW partners couldn’t lord it over C&L partners with, “We’ve got more capitals than you.” Okay I’m making that up, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

When you abbreviate it, PwC somehow looks better than PWC. It also flows more like C&L.