This question came up today in one of my code reviews at work. Where I used colour (South Africa English/British English) instead of color.

Our company's opinion is to use American English for programming. Which is fine if they want to do it that way, I just wondered if there is a standard dialect to use?

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    Depends on the market. If the (software) product is for the US market, use AmE, else use appropriately BrE/ AusE/ whatever. Also, US companies (majority software developers) tend to use AmE even though the product sells worldwide. – Kris Mar 7 '18 at 12:55
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    Is this relating to the use of the word "colour" as a name in code (e.g. System.Color myBackgroundColour = System.Colors.BackgroundColor where opposing spellings are used in the same statement) or actually on the screen where users will see it? – Spratty Mar 7 '18 at 14:37

There is no standard. Obviously, the reserved words of a programming language or names in libraries are fixed, but there is nothing to stop you from using any language to express variable names or comments. It would just be advisable to have an internal standard if there is a team of people working on the same codebase.

Imagine you name a variable colour; your American co-worker might search for places where colour is required, but they will search for color, and not find the instances where you wrote the code.

In a German software company, farbe might be used; but as long as everyone knows to use German words as identifiers, this will not be an issue.

It's all a matter of consistency and expectations. Company coding standards are there for a reason, as they make collaboration more seamless.

In case you did not talk about coding aspects, but instead the language used in the user interface: that should of course be properly localised, and thus be consistent across the application, preferably in the language of the user.


Depends on the language used during the development of the code language.

HTML or PHP are American English for instance.

As you surely know, code do not analyse words themselves but strings of values. So the accepted values are those defined by the creators of the language, who made the choice to either use British English spelling or American English spelling (the latter being prevalent, I personally never saw or used a language that used British, but then again, I am no true expert).

To fully answer your question, it seems that there are no written standards as to which "dialect" has to be used in coding. It just appears to be American English most of the time.

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