[erlang-questions] Style wars: junk comments

Wed Sep 12 11:18:27 CEST 2012

> 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.)

More information about the erlang-questions mailing list