wettering at comcast.net
Sat Jul 12 21:40:56 CEST 2003
In article <vgvth12c4qoma7 at news.supernews.com>, John Roth wrote:
>> Nope. That's a reason why code colouring is evil. If you write code,
>> and it isn't clear what you mean without the use of code colouring,
>> you did something wrong. Your code shouldn't rely on a specific code
>> colouring scheme to be understandable.
> This assumes that someone reading the code is going to be using
> a brain-dead editor. We need to get beyond that some day, and
> assume that people are going to be using decent tools.
I don't use code coloring editors for a number of reasons.
1. Code coloring makes code harder to read. There are two obvious choices to
pick for the background color of text editors: white and black. Against
a white background, only darker colors have contrast. Against black, only
lighter ones do. This drastically limits the number of colors that you can
Recently my place of employment changed the default vi that people use to
perform syntax coloring. The result: my comments became dark red against a
black background. Some other class of keywords mapped to magenta and dark
blue. About 30 seconds of it made me want to gouge my eyes out.
2. Code coloring is almost always done on the basis of a syntactic basis.
Call me silly, but I've never found problems with syntax to be very
confusing. Other features of advanced editors like class browsers and the
like are useful because they relay some information which may not be
obvious from context, but that never seems to be a problem with syntax.
3. Good programming style allows you to read programs from top to bottom.
Syntax coloring encourages you to skip around by distracting the eye to
other parts. It's similar to the overuse of font changes in the written
word: it is a poor visual style.
4. Some people are color blind. Syntax coloring may not benefit them to
any significant degree.
I doubt anyone will find this arguments convincing, as this tends to be a bit
of a religious argument, but the problem isn't just one of tools: I have
access to such tools, I merely find them useless.
> John Roth
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