Prothon Prototypes vs Python Classes

Michael mogmios at
Mon Mar 29 15:51:59 CEST 2004

>I don't have very much sympathy for people who
>use poor editors to write programs.  I've got a lot of
>sympathy for people who are stuck with defective
>rendering and printing programs for analyzing programs
>that they didn't write in the first place, though. Note that
>Python, which is mostly what we're talking about on this
>newsgroup, comes with a reasonably competent editor
>called Idle. There are very few environments where you
>can use Python at all where you can't use Idle.
I have sympathy for neither. If your editor sucks then change it. If 
your printing program sucks than change it. I've never bothered using 
Idle as I don't like GUI-based editors so I wouldn't really be familiar 
with how it behaves.

>I've never seen variable width fonts to change the width
>of spaces on the left, unless it was doing something like
>full justification.
I have, but then I throw such editors out after a single glance.

>As far as rendering programs, the most obvious
>culprit is OE, which for all of its defects and security
>problems, is still one of the most used mail and newsgroup
>clients out there.
Do people actually post and read a lot of source code on mail or 
newsgroup lists? Is that the main reason for not using tabs in code? 
That'd seem a bit odd to me. Never actually tried using OE to read code. 
I really don't use OE. Why wouldn't you just open the code in your code 
editor of choice?

>I'll also point out that even programs that properly follow
>the tab "standard" will not render well since the standard
>is that a tab goes to the next multiple of 8. The number
>8 has nothing to do with readability: it was decided on
>as the best compromise on compressing the number of
>characters going over a line when line speeds were *very*
>slow and teletypes really were electromechanical monsters
>with these little metal stops called 'tabs' in the back.
What difference does it make what the standard length of a tab is as 
long as it remains the same throughout the program? As long as the size 
is uniform it should render just fine.

>There is, of course, no standard at all for how to change
>the default tabbing in programs, which means that one
>has to deal with each and every one on an individual
>basis - if it's even possible.
Again, as long as it's uniform does it matter? It won't change the logic 
of the code as long as it opens a tab as a tab and saves a tab as a tab. 
If you can't trust your editor to do something that basic then trash it.

>Reading the source for Idle is quite
>enlightening: there is a comment about Tk doing something
>rather absurd if you change the tab default.
I've glanced at it but never really read it. Why would Tk care what the 
tab default of your editor is? In the source it's still a single tab 

>Any programming editor worth the name will insert spaces
>when you use the tab key; likewise it will adjust with the
>backspace key. This is not a problem unique to Python,
>after all.
No, a good editor will do nothing you don't tell it to do. A good editor 
will insert a tab when you insert a tab and delete a tab when you delete 
a tab. Why should it use spaces to simulate a tab when you can just use 
a tab? That sounds like needless complexity.

>The same comment applies to variable width fonts. A good
>programming editor will not use them.
Agreed. I wouldn't use one that did use them.

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