79 chars or more?

Steven D'Aprano steve at REMOVE-THIS-cybersource.com.au
Fri Aug 20 05:49:05 CEST 2010

On Fri, 20 Aug 2010 15:09:39 +1200, Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:

> In message <mailman.2242.1282071458.1673.python-list at python.org>, Terry
> Reedy wrote:
>> A reason not mentioned much is that some people have trouble following
>> packed lines that are too much longer. Wide-page textbooks routinely
>> put text in two columns for easier reading.
> But even 79 columns is too wide for them. So what?

I think you're wrong.

I just opened a random text book at a random page, and the first line I 
counted had 84 columns of text.

("Data Structures and Program Design", 2nd Edition, by Robert L Kruse.)

Of course source code is written in a monospaced typeface, which is a 
little wider and consequently fewer characters per page. The book uses 
right-justified comments, making it easy to count that the maximum line-
width used for source code is 79 columns. Most lines are *much* shorter. 
Excluding comments, the longest line of code I spotted was 64 columns, 
with a typical line being more like 40 columns.


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