error handling in user input: is this natural or just laborious

Steve Holden steve at
Sun Oct 8 12:38:06 CEST 2006

Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
> In message <sXzVg.9551$vJ2.7097 at>, James Stroud
> wrote:
>>Patently. Tabs should be reserved for tables, for which tabs were named.
>>If they were meant to be used for indenting, they would have been
>>named "indenters". 
Or possibly "inds", in a similarly abbreviative spirit.
> Really? I thought they were for tabulators
> <>.

Well, let's ignore the fact that this was probably a tongue-in-cheek reply.

Firstly, the article you quote shows clearly that Hollerith invented the 
tabulator in the late 19th century. C L Scholes was granted the first 
typewriter paten in 1868, and Remington started manufacture in 1873. So 
tabs were already used (to produce tables) by the time the tabulator 
arrived on the scene.

Secondly the tabulator was originally simply a device for counting the 
occurrences of the various values possible for a field (you may know it 
was invented to assist in the processing of the US census), and when 
printing was later added the output to the printer wasn't sequential 
anyway, so no "tab character" was required: the positions of report 
fields would be hard-programmed into the patch panel.

ObPython: PEP 8 ( was 
originally an essay by Guido in which he listed his own personal 
stylistic preferences. Naturally his opinions were taken seriously 
because he has proved to be a capable language designer, and when the 
PEP scheme was introduced his essay (originally published under the 
title "A Foolish Consistency is the Hobgoblin of Little Minds") was 
adopted more or less unchanged. It has since been revised, but still 
refers to the original. Ultimately a conformance with PEP 8 can be taken 
as an indication that the author has reached a certain stylistic maturity.

Steve Holden       +44 150 684 7255  +1 800 494 3119
Holden Web LLC/Ltd
Skype: holdenweb
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