An Email Address Field Should Be Called “email address” (Not “email”)

Naming is extremely important in software development. Any software that deals with emails probably also deals with email addresses. Emails and email addresses are two completely different types of objects, with a completely different set of attributes, and a completely different set of actions which one can perform on them. Even if your application only deals with the one or the other type, it would be unwise to confuse them.

But yet constantly I see the word "email" being used to refer to an email address. Don't do this, it's confusing. Only use "email address" to refer to the address and "email" to refer to the message.

Currently seen in RFC 3733 section 2.9 describing the attributes of a Internet domain's contact information. But there are a million other examples as well.

This article is © Adrian Smith.
It was originally published on 23 Jan 2009
More on: Words & Language