[erlang-questions] On TABSTOPS Re: Semaphores

Valentin Micic <>
Mon Mar 19 07:47:08 CET 2007


This discussion has nothing to do with Semaphores anymore  and has 
degenerated into a "protective self-deception" -- the least one can do is to 
change a message subjectso so we do not deceive others as well.

On the subject of tabstops: I'm using an editor that replaces TAB's with 
configurable number of blank characters (spaces), thus insuring that anyone 
can see my code the way I see it. Not as efficient regarding file's memory 
utilization, but, hey, we're not in 70's.

V.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "ok" <>
To: "Erlang/OTP discussions" <>
Sent: Monday, March 19, 2007 7:28 AM
Subject: Re: [erlang-questions] Semaphores


>I wrote:
>> }  Source files should be kept to a maximum width of 80 columns;
>
> On 16 Mar 2007, at 8:36 am, Vance Shipley wrote:
>> A number of years ago I would have whole heartedly agreed
>> but no longer.  A few years ago I did a project which used
>> ASN.1 and it ended up having really long names which I did
>> not have the luxury of choosing.  It became impractical to
>> use 80 column pages.  I did all my work in 132 column windows
>> for that project.  I now find I really prefer working that
>> way as I have plenty of glass these days.  I wouldn't however
>> unecessarily force others into it.
>
> The psychology-of-reading results really do seem to be clear this time"
> narrower columns really ARE easier to read.  That doesn't mean 80
> columns
> is right.  80 columns is too wide.  It's a tradition that goes back to
> punched cards, not something which is grounded in human factors.
>
> I suspect that anyone who claims to find 132 columns comfortable is
> suffering from a bit of protective self-deception.  I've spent my time
> reading with a ruler in my hand and have no desire ever to repeat it.
>
> While consenting adults may do whatever they please in the privacy of
> their cubicles, that does not mean that beginners should be encouraged
> to flout what little we know about readability.
>
> The important point is that anyone who DISTRIBUTES a file in
> wider-than-80-column format *IS* thereby 'unecessarily forc[ing] others
> to' deal with it.
>
> Also, while it may be straightforward to switch your terminal to 132-
> column mode, or to stretch your window sideways, you cannot stretch your
> printer to handle such stuff without substantially reducing the
> character
> size.  I like to print listings off and take them home to look at.
> I do not enjoy reading with a microscope.
>
> So the point remains:
>    If you want OTHER people to read your stuff, have the elementary
>    courtesy to keep the lines 80 characters or narrower, and if you
>    can keep them 72 characters or narrower, so much the better.
>
>>
>> }  Source code should be indented using your text editor's indentation
>> }  features, NOT one tab per tab stop.  8-column indentations (what
>> you
>> }  get when you use the tab key) are eye-jarring.
>>
>> That is just wrong.  First of all tabs are whatever your tabstops
>> are currently set to.
>
> 'That is just wrong' is forcefully put, but quite untrue,
> and the second sentence gives the very reason that it is untrue.
> YOUR tabstops are whatever YOU have set them to.
> The tabstops I see are for the most part whatever I have been given
> and are almost certainly *NOT* the tabstops you see.
> Some of the editors I use can set tabstops; some can't.
> Some of the commands I use for printing files can set tabstops;
> some can't.  The ones that do don't use the same options (-e, -T,
> others).  NONE of these programs have ANY idea what YOUR tabstops
> are, and the default is the standard tab=8.
>
>>   I write all my code using tabs for indentation
>> the beauty of which is that you can easily change the appearance to
>> your personal taste (i.e. in vi: set ts=3).
>
> The ugliness of this is that YOU see what you want, but NOBODY ELSE
> can tell that you ever did 'set ts=3'.  If you embedded the command in
> the source code, it is quite certain that other people reading the
> code will do so using a different editor that doesn't know how to read
> those embedded commands.
>
> I don't care what keys you press to make indentation happen (the TAB key
> in Emacs doesn't normally insert a literal tab; Vi uses > and < for
> changing indentation; Xcode uses Cmd-] and Cmd-[; &c).  You could do it
> by clicking your teeth like castanets for all I care.  But if you want
> other people to be able to look at your code and see what you see, any
> tabstops had better be 8 columns apart, and it is best of all if there
> are no tab characters in the file at all.
>
> There used to be a compression benefit from using tabs instead of
> spaces,
> but with 720GB discs the price they are, I care a lot less about that
> than I used to.
>
> But we do agree that Emacs is pathetic at choosing where to indent.
>
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