Do You Assume Too Much About Names?
A tech blogger recently made this dramatic claim about personal names: "I have never seen a computer system which handles names properly and doubt one exists, anywhere."
The problem, the writer explained, is that programmers make lots of false assumptions about names. He listed a whopping 40 assumptions, from the technical ("People’s names are all mapped in Unicode code points") to the fundamental ("People have names").
I'll leave it to the tech sites to debate the implications for systems design. Around here, the long list of assumptions reads like a challenge. Can you think of major counterexamples -- preferably groups, not just outlying individuals -- to each of these generalizations?
- People have, at this point in time, one full name which they go by.
- People’s names fit within a certain defined amount of space.
- People’s names are case insensitive.
- People’s first names and last names are, by necessity, different.
- People have names.