What are your thoughts on the word DevOps? Most big brands in the field (Atlassian, Puppet) use pascal case for all instances of the word, even if it's in the middle of a sentence, as in: "The concept of DevOps is founded on building a culture of collaboration between teams that historically functioned in relative siloes."

And yet I'm not convinced it's a proper noun. There's a technical reason for the D and O to both be capitalised (DevOps combines both development and operations and both are equal players in the methodology). There's also a precedent in IT/coding for pascal case.

I'm still hesitant to sully the English language with unnecessary pascal case if it can't be avoided.

  • 1
    Your tag is wrong. This is not "grammatical case". – GEdgar Jan 29 at 12:38
  • 1
    How it is spelled is up to style guides. I don't see it any other way than 'DevOps', so that's probably the standard. If you don't like it, and try to use something else, people will think you're making a mistake all the time. – Mitch Jan 29 at 15:12
  • And you think that more than three people on this list are familiar with the term “pascal case”? In an MSc in IT and had to look it up. Need to get out of your (relative?) silo. – David Jan 29 at 19:48

DevOps should be regarded as an acronym.

An acronym is a word or name formed as an abbreviation from the initial components of a phrase or a word, usually individual letters (as in "NATO" or "laser") and sometimes syllables (as in "Benelux"). - Wikipedia

The article goes on to talk about mixed-case abbreviations:

Words derived from an acronym by affixing are typically expressed in mixed case, so the root acronym is clear. For example, "pre-WWII politics", "post-NATO world", "DNAase". In some cases a derived acronym may also be expressed in mixed case. For example, "messenger RNA" and "transfer RNA" become "mRNA" and "tRNA". - ibid

This, however, doesn’t quite address the particular kind of mixed case you’ve raised, where the initial letter of each constituent word is a capital and the rest are lowercase.

For this, consider the standard abbreviation for Doctor of Philosophy, PhD. Although it’s not an acronym (it’s read as individual letters, not as a single word), it offers support for abbreviations to be written in mixed case. PgDip (postgraduate diploma) is usually pronounced pee-gee-dip, which we might consider to be part initialism, part acronym. It, too, is written in mixed case.

Closer to the mark, we have SoCal, an acronym for Southern California, written in mixed case and pronounced as a word.

So if you treat DevOps as an acronym, mixed case has historical support.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.