Coding Naming Conventions: Australian (or British) vs. American English

I really dislike American spelling of words. Nothing personal, but I guess growing up with knowledge about how words are spelt and then seeing words spelt “wrong” is frustrating (particularly when you can’t turn off a US spell-checker and it keeps “auto-correcting” your words to incorrect spelling).

Something my team has a discussion on this week was what our naming convention should be for words that have different spelling in US English vs Australian English (the most common one that has come up lately is finalise vs finalize).

In the end, we decided for consistency between displaying to the user and using the words in our code we would use Australian spelling (let alone the fact that seeing the “incorrect” spelling of the words really grated us).

I just did a bit of Googling and came across a really interesting thread. It is talking more generally about using English (or not) when your native language is English, however there are a few comments in there about American vs. British English.

In the end I feel it doesn’t matter too much because the spelling is similar and intellisense will normally save you, however I think the following points are important in this case:

  • If there is no possibility of people from other countries working on your code and the naming makes sense to the developers and users then you can break away from US English for a local variant.
  • If you are contributing to code that is open source or an International collaboration then use US English since it’s the de-facto standard.
  • I like this comment on the above linked to thread