Tabs versus Spaces in Source Code

Sybren Stuvel sybrenUSE at
Tue May 16 13:19:20 CEST 2006

Duncan Booth enlightened us with:
> It could be, and for some keys (q, w, e, r, t, y, etc. spring to
> mind) that is quite a reasonable implementation. For others 'tab',
> 'backspace', 'enter', 'delete', etc. it is less reasonable, but it
> is a quality of implementation issue. If I had an editor which
> entered a control character for each of these I would simply move to
> a better editor.

Well, my editor *does* enter a control character when I press Enter,
namely \n. It also enters a \t when I press TAB. That does not mean my
editor is flawed.

> The problem is that behaviour like this is useful, and mostly even
> intuitive, but it's a long way from the definition of a tab or even
> the little metal clips you used to stick on the back of a manual
> typewriter.

I understand what you are saying, but saying "an editor that insert a
control character when pressing a key is flawed" is most incorrect.

The problem with the world is stupidity. Not saying there should be a
capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the
safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself? 
                                             Frank Zappa

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