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

Richard A. O'Keefe <>
Tue Feb 11 22:55:57 CET 2014

On 11/02/2014, at 7:16 PM, Bengt Kleberg wrote:
> Is it not difficult to preserve alignment when using both variable width
> characters and fixed width characters tools?

I understand the question to be:
 - some tools (group G) display program source code using
   monospaced fonts
 - some tools (group E) display program source code using
   proportional fonts
 - without any reference to TAB characters,
 - surely it is difficult to write neatly aligned files
   that display reasonable in both sets of tools?

To which the answer is "yes, certainly."
That's why I classified the tools as G(ood) and E(vil).

If you don't care about lining things up in a tabular way
to reveal common structure, then "blind" group E tools may
work for you; you won't _have_ any alignment that you care
to preserve, so group G tools will also work for you.

If you want proportional fonts AND you want neat tabular
formats, then you need some kind of "smart" group E tool.
For example, you might want to write your code in
Microsoft Word -- don't laugh, I've known it done -- using
its facilities for managing tabulation, and have the code
automatically extracted from the text, using a "code" style
to mark the chunks you want.

In that case, of course, you don't greatly care about
alignment in the raw code, so don't worry about preserving it.

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