Too much code - slicing

AK andrei.avk at
Sun Sep 19 16:56:06 CEST 2010

On 09/19/2010 03:36 AM, Seebs wrote:
> On 2010-09-19, Steven D'Aprano<steve at>  wrote:
>> I'm not entirely sure I agree with you here... you can't ignore syntax in
>> order to understand the meaning of code.
> No, but the syntax should be invisible.  When I read English, I don't have
> to think about nouns and verbs and such unless something is very badly
> written.  The syntax is handled automatically at a lower level without
> conscious intervention, as it should be.  Calling my conscious attention
> to it is disruptive.

The interesting thing is that syntax highlight for me *is* handled at a
lower level. What you're describing is exactly the same as when I try a
highlight scheme with colours that are too strong, or have a background.
I would rather use no highlighting at all than a theme with garish

When I read code, I filter out colours when I don't need them and filter
out non-coloured text when I'm looking for a particular structure. So,
with x = y if a else z, I might see . = . if . else . and then
immediately see x . y . a . z, already with knowledge of what is the
structure surrounding vars.

> Punctuation is very different from highlighting, IMHO.  That said, I
> find punctuation very effective at being small and discrete, clearly not
> words, and easy to pick out.  Color cues are not nearly as good at
> being inobtrusive but automatically parsed.

Seems like the difference of how you process colours vs. how I do, for
me they work precisely in the same way as punctuation might, but adding
an additional layer which may be used but never gets in the way.


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