Tabs -vs- Spaces: Tabs should have won.

Cameron Simpson cs at zip.com.au
Sun Jul 17 06:12:23 CEST 2011


On 17Jul2011 13:09, Steven D'Aprano <steve+comp.lang.python at pearwood.info> wrote:
| Cameron Simpson wrote:
| > On 16Jul2011 09:51, rantingrick <rantingrick at gmail.com> trolled:
| > |  Evidence: Tabs ARE superior!
| > | --------------------------------------------------
| > | I have begun to believe that tabs are far more superior to spaces
| > 
| > Please Rick: you need at least three things to use the term "more
| > superior". With only two, you just have superior. It grates.
| 
| Really? If you just say "superior", how do you know if it's more superior or
| less superior?

Neither. We can learn from the sage Dumpty, who writes:

  `When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it
  means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

| > Personally, I prefer spaces to tabs, at least fgor my Python code and
| > generally anyway. Why? Well to some extent because I share files with
| > another who uses 4 position tabs. Editing these is a real nightmare if
| > one uses 8 position tabs (as I do, the common editor/terminal default
| > these days). 
| 
| I can't fathom why 8 position tabs were *ever* the default, let alone why
| they are still the default.

Shrug. I imagine it's enough to be useful. An 80 column display gets 8
tab stops (not counting the edges). Personally I find 8 a little more
than I would like, but 6 is displeasing and 4 may be frustratingly small
for some users. I used to indent in 3s at uni, 5 is odd, 7 is just weird
and 2 seems almost not worth the effort. And 1 is taken.

Today's lesson is brought to you by the number 37, the lowest arbitrary
number.

| > For pure indentation you may get sane (if wider that liked) 
| > results, bit any multicolumn stuff is badly broken by the mismatch.
| >
| > Personally, I like to use the tab _key_ as an input device, but to have
| > my editor write real spaces to the file in consequence. With pure
| > spaces, the text is laid out reliably for us both. And so I have my
| > editor set to that behaviour.
| 
| I have reluctantly come to do the same thing. There is a plethora of broken
| tools out there that don't handle tabs well, and consequently even though
| tabs for indentation are objectively better, I use spaces because it is
| less worse than the alternative.
| 
| Victory of worse-is-better.

Yeah. Worse is at least reliable in this scheme.

Cheers,
-- 
Cameron Simpson <cs at zip.com.au> DoD#743
http://www.cskk.ezoshosting.com/cs/

It is time. Awaken, sleepers, for yet another herd of slow moving prey has
swept into Peevetown, unaware of the sure fate of the fools that disturb the
inhabitants. Shall it be a rending of flesh, and the lamentations of the
sorely afflicted, or shall we be buried in a sea of drivel?
        - Woulffe <shampton at muddcs.claremont.edu>



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