What Is Pascal Case? Definition & Alternatives (with Examples)

What Is Pascal Case?

Pascal Case is a coding convention for naming objects such that the first letters of each compound word are capitalized. Such a convention is used because programming languages don’t allow you to separate words with spaces. Here are some examples of the pascal case:

  1. MyAge
  2. MainViewController
  3. DefaultUserParameters

What Problem Does Pascal Case Solve?

In software development, writing quality code is important. One of the key aspects of writing manageable and scalable code is by naming your code logically.

The problem with coding languages is they don’t allow using spaces in naming.

More often than not, a class, variable, or function needs a name that is a combination of multiple words. For example, you could use a name such as nearbydevicesviewcontroller.

But if you take a look at the name, it’s quite long and hard to read. Because of the restrictions of programming languages, you cannot introduce spaces to the name.

This is where different casing systems help. One of the popular letter casing systems in programming is known as the Pascal case. In Pascal case, the idea is to make each compound word start with a capital letter. The Pascal case makes it easier to read multi-word object names as each word is distinguishable thanks to the capital letters.

For example, let’s convert the previously mentioned 4-word object into the Pascal case:

  • nearbydevicesviewcontroller –> NearbyDevicesViewController

As you can tell, the word combination is now much easier to read.

Why Is It Called the Pascal Case?

Pascal case became popular in the Pascal programming language community. This is where the term was coined.

The Pascal programming language is not case-sensitive. This meant that using the Pascal case was by no means a requirement!

Because the Pascal casing made code look so much better, it became a convention. From Pascal, the Pascal case has gained popularity and become a convention for many other programming languages. For instance, in Swift programming language, class names typically follow Pascal case naming conventions.

Other Case Systems

Pascal case is not the only case style out there. In total, there are four separate casing styles that are commonly used in software development. These styles are:

  1. Pascal Case
  2. Camel Case
  3. Snake Case
  4. Kebab Case

Let’s take a quick look at each case style.

1. Camel Case (camelCase)

Came case is very similar to Pascal case. The only difference is in the very first letter of a multi-word combination.

  • In Pascal case, the first letter is also capitalized.
  • In Camel case, the very first letter is not capitalized.

For instance, here is a variable with a name in camel case:

myBankBalance = 1000

Camel case is an even more popular convention for combining words than the Pascal case.

2. Snake Case (snake_case)

Snake case is another popular case style. Unlike camel case or Pascal case, the snake case doesn’t use capital letters. Instead, the words are separated by underscores.

For example:

my_bank_balance = 100

In programming, you commonly see snake case when declaring constants. Typically, the letter are also capitalized when declaring constants.

PI_APPROX = 3.14159
MAX_CONNECTIONS = 32

Also, database fields are typically labeled with snake case.

{
    username: "Alice",
    user_login_attempts: 13,
    last_attempt: 1662988728,
}

3. Kebab Case (kebab-case)

A less common, yet still popular choice for combining multiple words in software development is by using kebab case. The kebab case is reminiscent of the snake case. But instead of using underscores, the words are separated by dashes.

For example:

my-bank-balance = 101

Notice that most of the programming languages don’t support using dash as a separator. This makes kebab case not work in most programming languages.

You typically see kebab case in URLs.

https://bank.example.com/my-account-balance

Wrap Up

Today you learned what is the Pascal case in programming.

To recap, the Pascal case is a naming convention that keeps your code clean and readable. In the Pascal case, each compound word starts with a capital first letter.

The reason for Pascal case (and other case systems) is that programming languages don’t allow using blank spaces between words.

Pascal case originates from the Pascal coding language. The Pascal community started using the Pascal case to improve code quality. From there, it has spread across multiple coding languages.

In addition to the Pascal case, other popular case styles include:

  • Camel case (camelCase)
  • Snake case (snake_case)
  • Kebab case (kebab-case)

All the case styles serve the same purpose: make code or phrases more readable when spaces are not allowed. Camel and snake case are common in coding. The kebab case is popular in URL slugs.

Thanks for reading. Happy coding!

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