[erlang-questions] Controversial subject of the day: tabs and spaces for indentation

Loïc Hoguin <>
Wed Feb 5 21:47:18 CET 2014


One line? That's the worst solution ever. You break every tool ever, and 
even make *cat* and *less* useless (pun intended).

Code is text, so keep it readable without requiring any special crappy 
editor.

On 02/05/2014 09:21 PM, kraythe . wrote:
> Actually the solution to this age old debate was proposed to me by a
> friend of mine and its genius on a number of levels but isn't
> implemented anywhere.  The reality is that for most languages whitespace
> is irrelevant so it shouldn't be the code holding the indentation but
> the user's preference file. Imagine a source code repository where there
> is NO irrelevant whitespace in the code base. For java, for example,
> there would be literally only one single line of code. Now when you
> check out you have a preference file that says you want tabs or spaces
> or mixed and also defines the other formatting you prefer. When you
> check out the system reformats the code according to your specs
> dynamically. When you commit, it strips your code of whitespace before
> comparing.
>
> Now that would rock. Not just for tabs but the other code holy wars like
> drop braces and so onl
>
> *Robert Simmons Jr. MSc. - Lead Java Architect @ EA*
> /Author of: Hardcore Java (2003) and Maintainable Java (2012)/
> /LinkedIn: //http://www.linkedin.com/pub/robert-simmons/40/852/a39/
>
>
> On Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 2:21 PM, kraythe . <
> <mailto:>> wrote:
>
>     Actually the solution to this age old debate was proposed to me by a
>     friend of mine and its genius on a number of levels but isn't
>     implemented anywhere.  The reality is that for most languages
>     whitespace is irrelevant so it shouldn't be the code holding the
>     indentation but the user's preference file. Imagine a source code
>     repository where there is NO irrelevant whitespace in the code base.
>     For java, for example, there would be literally only one single line
>     of code. Now when you check out you have a preference file that says
>     you want tabs or spaces or mixed and also defines the other
>     formatting you prefer. When you check out the system reformats the
>     code according to your specs dynamically. When you commit, it strips
>     your code of whitespace before comparing.
>
>     Now that would rock. Not just for tabs but the other code holy wars
>     like drop braces and so onl
>
>     *Robert Simmons Jr. MSc. - Lead Java Architect @ EA*
>     /Author of: Hardcore Java (2003) and Maintainable Java (2012)/
>     /LinkedIn: //http://www.linkedin.com/pub/robert-simmons/40/852/a39/
>
>
>     On Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 1:33 PM, Vlad Dumitrescu <
>     <mailto:>> wrote:
>
>         On Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 8:27 PM, Garrett Smith <
>         <mailto:>> wrote:
>          > On Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 1:24 PM, Vlad Dumitrescu
>         < <mailto:>> wrote:
>          >> On Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 8:18 PM, Garrett Smith <
>         <mailto:>> wrote:
>          >>> It seems to me that this problem is easily solved by
>         inverting the interests:
>          >>> - Fix erlang-mode to default to all spaces
>          >>> - OTP team includes the appropriate Emacs code headers in
>         the source
>          >>> files (or the dot file in the source root directory as
>         Magnus just
>          >>> pointed out) and leave them horribly formatted, per their
>         preference
>          >>>
>          >>> Does this not trivially solve the world's Erlang indent
>         problems?
>          >>
>          >> Unfortunately, no. If I make a patch without emacs, my
>         editor will
>          >> still use something else than a mix of tabs and spaces, so
>         it will
>          >> have to be OTP-ified by hand (copying indentation from other
>         lines) or
>          >> by running it through emacs just for that.
>          >>
>          >> Which, in a funny turn of events, brings me to a question
>         related to
>          >> the previous "holy war": can emacs open, reindent and save
>         files in
>          >> bach mode? That would indeed help! (even if one would still
>         have to
>          >> install emacs).
>          >
>          > This seems like a problem that can be confined to the OTP
>         team and
>          > process, which is I think is a pretty small subset of all
>         erlang-mode
>          > users, no? And changing erlang-mode to default to spaces
>         doesn't make
>          > this worse does it?
>
>         You are right, it's better like you suggested and definitely a
>         step in
>         the right direction. But I think that most Erlang projects are more
>         lenient regarding whitespace mismatches in patches (being much
>         smaller) and thus the project where it hurts the most to be
>         non-compliant is not going to be affected. Yet.
>
>         /Vlad
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-- 
Loïc Hoguin
http://ninenines.eu



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