Compare source code

Steven D'Aprano steve at
Sat Nov 6 02:59:41 CET 2010

On Thu, 04 Nov 2010 19:37:25 +0000, Tim Harig wrote:

> Examples of communication channels that mangle white space abound.

Yes. So what? If your communication channel mangles your data, change 
your communication channel, don't expect users of clean communication 
channels to hand-enter error-correcting codes (braces) into the data.

> I
> don't know of any that mangle either braces or pascal style start/end
> blocks.
> You are the one who seems to be on a crusade against against braces.  It
> would seem to me, that if you want people to accept that white space
> formatting is superior, that you would be looking for a simple way to
> solve the white space mangling problem.

Why is it the responsibility of the programming language syntax to 
correct the problem with Seebs' faulty mail server?

I've experienced the spilled-coke-on-the-keyboard problem more often than 
mangled whitespace, but you don't see me arguing that what every language 
needs is error-correcting codes that let me work with keyboards that have 
had Coke spilled on them.

> Transfering binary programs has always been an issue and using text
> based communications (preferably human readable) has always been
> considered a good design decision.  I put up with Python's white space
> idiosyncrasies; I wouldn't even bother looking at a language that
> requires me to enter the source in binary.  I also consider the move
> toward XML based document formats a move in the right direction.

Okay, now you have zero credibility.

XML is not a data format for human use, it is for use by machines. It is 
slow, inefficient, and uneditable by humans except for the most trivial 


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