URIs and Pascal Casing - A Study of Case

Do You Pascal? Your Case or Mine?

Heh! That was going to be my original title and then I decided on the Pascal Casing - A Study of Case for the reasons I'm going to explain in detail below.

First let's define the primary terms that I'll be using throughout this article.

Pascal Casing
The first letter in the identifier and the first letter of each subsequent concatenated word are capitalized. May also be referred to as Studley Caps. e.g. PascalCasing
Camel Casing
The first letter of an identifier is lowercase and the first letter of each subsequent concatenated word is capitalized. e.g. camelCasing
Concatenated
Connected or linked in a series. The joining of two character strings (or words) end to end e.g. PascalCasing or camelCasing.
URI and URL
Uniform Resource Indicator (URI) or Uniform Resource Locator (URL). URL has been deprecated in favor of URI which doesn't appear to be catching on, even after being deprecated since 1998 August. See RFC references below.
URI or URL = Your Domain Name e.g. SEOConsultants.com

Note: If you hover your cursor over the SEOConsultants.com linked reference above, you'll notice all lower case. If you view the source, you'll notice Pascal Casing in the actual html along with the www. reference.

<a href="http://www.SEOConsultants.com/">SEOConsultants.com</a>

We do incorporate 301s (Moved Permanently) to accommodate for the use of non-www, PascalCasing, StudleyCaps, camelCasing or, whatever case we want to use.

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Pascal Casing - A Study of Case - Table of Contents

  1. Capital Letters in URIs - Pascal Casing
  2. Display URIs
  3. Benefits of Pascal Casing in Domain Names
  4. Micro-Blogging and Pascal Casing
  5. Message Truncation and TinyURL Conversions
  6. 139 Characters - The Magic Number?
  7. References and Supporting Discussions

Capital Letters in URIs - Pascal Casing

Let's switch to regular Webmaster Speak and use Domain Names and File Names, those are the two common distinctions I see when discussing Pascal Casing. Domain Names are NOT Case Sensitive. File Names ARE Case Sensitive. Be very careful in how you interpret the information available on this page. If you don't have the expertise to work with PascalCasing in File Names, don't do it!

Again, since Domain Names are Case Insensitive, you can do with them as you wish. You could literally have any combination of case in your Domain Name, the part after the www. and before the .com (.edu, .net, .org, etc.).

  1. www.seoconsultants.com (Old School Media)
  2. www.SEOConsultants.com (New School Media)
  3. www.SeOcOnSuLtAnTs.com (Grunge example only)

As you can see, The first two examples would be the accepted methods with number one being the most widely used. Unless you have a Grunge Brand or have a requirement for Studley Caps, the last example (#3) may not apply.

Of the two accepted methods, which of these two are your eyes drawn to?

  1. www.SEOConsultants.com
  2. www.seoconsultants.com

I'm going to take it one step further and strip the www. (Another topic in itself and one that I'll be covering in greater depth.)

  1. SEOConsultants.com
  2. seoconsultants.com

With the last two examples above, which do you find more visually appealing from both a brand and usability perspective?

Remember, domain names are case insensitive which means you can use whatever case you wish. Use that knowledge with prudence and best branding practices.

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Display URIs

Think Display URIs. Do a search in Google for a common commercial product and look at the Sponsored Links at top and right. Check out the Display URIs. On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate the "visual" of the advertiser's messages? Many FAIL when it comes to the "visual", don't they? Even the Fortune 500 companies. What are they thinking? Or in this case, not thinking?

Google Search MarketingNote: The example at right is an ad that is displayed when searching for search engine marketing on Google. If I were to rate this on a scale of 1 to 5, it would get a 3. Why? It fails in the use of proper case and the Display URI could use a little more umph! Maybe...

AdWords.Google.com vs. adwords.google.com

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Benefits of Pascal Casing in Domain Names

Using Pascal Casing in the URI will provide a more powerful "visual clue" for the target. Keeping a clean unconverted URI in the message also provides a branding opportunity that many have missed. See below sub-topic on Micro-Blogging and Pascal Casing. It's unfortunate too. Due to the nature of most Blogging platforms, URIs are long and not user friendly. If you can't write a 30-50 word direct intro and include a short friendly URI, the above procedures are a moot point for you and YOU MUST use the TinyURL conversion process. No Branding opportunity for you.

In closing, just remember that Domain Names are not Case Sensitive. All file naming conventions are Case Sensitive.

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TwitterMicro-Blogging and Pascal Casing

140 Characters = Micro-Blogging. 140 is the normal character limit based on SMS or Short Message Service which has become a synonym and is the most widely used data application in the world.

"An update is limited by 140 characters and can be posted through three methods: web form, text message, or instant message."
CrunchBase Twitter Company Profile

Here's a screenshot of Twitter's "What are you doing?" web form with 140 characters available.

What Are You Doing?

Here's a screenshot of that same "What are you doing?" web form with all but two characters remaining (138 characters used). Easily identified by the "real time" character counter at the top right of the text input area.

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Twitter Message Example 1 with Pascal Casing in URI

What Are You Doing? 2

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Twitter Message Example 2 without Pascal Casing in URI

What Are You Doing? 3

Let's take a look at my two "almost identical" 138 character web form entries above. I write normally and use proper case. I will not jump ship and start using textual and/or case shortcuts unless I absolutely have to "squeeze" something into the "visual message".

I'm an old school writer and use case properly most of the time and I see no reason to change that "best practice". There is nothing different with that Twitter web form above other than the few extra steps required to press the Shift Key.

Look at the two (02) example visuals above. Which would you prefer from a Branding perspective? If you are promoting via Twitter or similar social networking outlet, you might want to consider the Pascal Casing visual strategy to stand out from what everyone else is doing. It is acceptable practice and from my perspective gives you a slight edge.

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TwitterMessage Truncation and Bit.ly URI Conversions

Note: This is a side discussion related to the above topic. I wanted to begin studying message truncation and Bit.ly conversions and at the same time promote the use of Pascal Casing.

Once that remaining character count reaches 0, truncation begins and the last few characters and/or the last word entered become truncated with an ellipsis (...) or three consecutive periods/dots.

I also believe this is one point where Bit.ly conversion takes place. Anytime you get close to that remaining character count of 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 is when you are in the conversion zone.

It is also relative to the length of the URI and those last few words entered. I would suggest keeping the target URI short and at the beginning to middle of the message to avoid getting visibly lost and converted to a Bit.ly address.

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139 Characters - The Magic Number?

That's the magic number for me. I can avoid truncation and, I can also avoid most of the Twitter Bit.ly conversions that take place. I still haven't nailed down the exact numbers on when the conversion takes place. URI length, word lengths, where those words appear in the message relative to wrapping, etc. all have an impact on the conversion process.

I don't want to abuse Twitter to find out the "exact numbers". I would need to post upwards of a few hundred Tweets all with URI references. My peers would not be real happy with those types of abusive activities. It's all about respect for my closed network of peers.

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References and Supporting Discussions

  1. Capital Letters (Pascal Casing) in URLs - Advantages and Disadvantages
    http://www.WebmasterWorld.com/Google/3651999.htm
  2. Domain Names and Pascal Casing - www.WebmasterWorld.com
    http://www.WebmasterWorld.com/Domain_Names/3457393.htm
  3. .NET Framework General Reference - Capitalization Styles
    http://MSDN.Microsoft.com/en-us/library/x2dbyw72.aspx
  4. Cool URIs Don't Change
    http://www.W3.org/Provider/Style/URI
  5. RFC1738 - Uniform Resource Locators (URL)
    http://www.FAQs.org/rfcs/rfc1738.html
  6. RFC1808 - Relative Uniform Resource Locators
    http://www.FAQs.org/rfcs/rfc1808.html
  7. RFC2396 - Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI): Generic Syntax
    http://www.FAQs.org/rfcs/rfc2396.html (RFC2396 revises and replaces RFC1738 and RFC1808)
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