Who are the "spacists"?

jladasky at itu.edu jladasky at itu.edu
Mon Mar 20 13:05:54 EDT 2017


On Sunday, March 19, 2017 at 1:11:45 PM UTC-7, Mikhail V wrote:

> Trying to line up things after a non-whitespace character, e.g. like this?
> 
> myList = [
>     ["a",                         "b", "c"],
>     ["mess up your alignment",     "b", "c"],
>     ["a",                         "b", "c"]
>     ]
> 
> Well there is no easy solution possible, especially if you want it
> to look exactly the same on all computers and editors.
> Before something like elastic tabstops will be a standard,
> it will continue to confuse people.
> Spaces are still one of the worst solutions, although it will
> give same results on monospaced editors. 

This is a good example of exactly WHY I continue to write code using monospaced fonts, and spaces for indentation.  The results are unambiguous.  If I want vertical alignment between specific characters in different rows, I can have it.  I am not only interested in the indentation of the first character in a line of code.  Yes, sometimes I have to adjust the spacing manually, but I can live with that.

Now, my word-processing documents make full use of styles, and in that context I've transcended tabs completely.  For casual documents I might find myself falling back into the email-like habit of pushing "Enter" twice between paragraphs.  But when it's time to get serious, I define an appropriate paragraph style.

I have read about elastic tabstops.  If they become a standard and address my needs (it looks like they should), I will be happy to switch.

If you want to make your head spin, investigate how to represent polyphonic musical notation in a data structure that ensures it will be drawn accurately on staff paper, as well as played correctly by a synthesizer.  Code is child's play by comparison.


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