[wp-hackers] Coding style

Elliotte Harold elharo at metalab.unc.edu
Tue Jul 4 15:39:39 GMT 2006

ravi wrote:

> the rendering of tabs and print output are performed by an editor and
> some application (such as 'enscript', or the editor itself) for
> printing, yes? All that is required, it seems to me, is agreement on
> what tab width should be. 

In practice you don't get that. Different apps, different systems do not 
agree about tab width. I am constantly faced with badly formatted code 
that comes through in e-mail, in printouts, and in raw text files due to 
the use of tabs.

Any decently sophisticated editor should
> provide a mechanism for specifying the tab width. 

Yes, but it's an extra step. On top of that:

1. Not all editors are that sophisticated. People still use NotePad and 
equivalent for quick work.

2. Even a more sophisticated program may have problems with different 
projects with different tab width conventions. Most plain text editors 
I've seen do not support different tab widths for different files.

3. Not everything's an editor. Printers and e-mail programs often do not 
allow you to specify tab widths.

The more different people's code you have to handle the more obvious 
this becomes. Tabs don't scale to multi-person projects.

Elliotte Rusty Harold  elharo at metalab.unc.edu
Java I/O 2nd Edition Just Published!

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