[Python-Dev] textwrap.py

Tim Peters tim.one@comcast.net
Fri, 07 Jun 2002 14:46:35 -0400

> Despite that you never bought a shift key, you use two spaces between
> sentences.

> that's only to compensate for the lack of uppercase letters.
> I can change that, if you wish.

Goodness no!  I read email in Courier New, and the "extra" spaces do more to
make your style readable than would capital letters.

> ...
> from what I can tell, the three most well-respected style guides
> for American English is the Chicago Manual of Style, the MLA style,
> and the APA.

Ya, I saw all that stuff.  As I said at the very start, the "two space" rule
doesn't make sense for published works, as proportional fonts, kerning, and
the other gimmicks available to real typesetting are sufficient there.  I'm
solely talking about monospaced fonts.  The CMS etc are not.  If you follow
links deeply enough, you'll find at least one of the authors of these guides
"confessing" that they use two spaces in email, so that it's readable in a
fixed font.

> ...
>     Publications in the United States today usually have the same
>     spacing after a punctuation mark as between words on the same
>     line /.../

Except virtually no publications in the US today use monospaced fonts.

> ...
> and finally, John Rhodes (of webword fame) has collected lots of arguments
> for and against:
>     http://www.webword.com/reports/period.html

Yes, I read that too.  His "revelation" at the start is crucial:

    One of the next things I realized is that, in general, the spacing
    after a period will be irrelevant since most fonts used today are

and goes on to reinforce the point in BOLD whenever he can <wink>:

    ... the current typographic standard for a single space after the
    period is a reflection of the power of proportionally spaced fonts.

Repetitions of this point are ubiquitous all over the web, not just in my
email <wink>.

> ...
> iirc, the linotype was introduced in the 1890's. when did Patricia
> write that review? ;-)

1996.  It's an OK review:


> ...
> anyway, to end this thread, the only reasonable thing is to do
> like the "fmt" command, and provide a bunch of options:
>     newtext = string.wrap(text, width=, french_spacing=, split=, prefix=)
> I'll leave it to Guido to pick suitable defaults.

Greg seems to want to do it via setting vrbls on subclasses.  I couldn't
care less how it's done, so long as I have some way to wrap for readability
in a fixed-width font.