[erlang-questions] Style wars: junk comments

Niclas Eklund <>
Wed Sep 12 12:11:41 CEST 2012


On 09/12/2012 11:18 AM,  wrote:
>> On 09/12/2012 10:33 AM, Ivan Uemlianin wrote:
>> Would you prefer 80 chars? Must the IBM punch card still haunt us?! ;-)
> You're right.  80 characters is too wide for readability.
> We should probably take 72 or 65 as the default.
>
> I would point out that I have actually used an
> IBM 96-column keypunch that produced these cute little
> 96-column cards.  Just because it's an IBM punched card
> never did mean it's 80 columns.  (The really amusing
> thing, considering these came from IBM, is that they
> used the ASCII code.)
>
> However, it's worth asking why the 80 column card became
> a standard, and what the standard actually was.
>
> The actual standard for programming commonly involved an
> 8 character sequence number on the right (or a differently
> sized sequence number on the left for COBOL) so the
> *actual* text width was typically 72 characters, which was
> rather better for readability.
>
> (I have a colleague who thinks there is nothing wrong with
> 300-character lines.  Needless to say, I have never been
> able to read his otherwise superb code.)
>

Another historical influence is the U.S. standard railroad gauge - 
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2538/was-standard-railroad-gauge-48-determined-by-roman-chariot-ruts 


/Nick



More information about the erlang-questions mailing list