Editor Tab Expansion

D. Tweed tweed@compsci.bristol.ac.uk
Fri, 6 Dec 2002 11:02:19 +0000 (GMT)

> Wether spaces or tabs are better in source files is a matter of taste and
> a language should not force me to use one or another.

Well note that it doesn't only confuse compilers: if you post code for
other people to read (whose display software has their personal own
interpretation of what a tab character means) it may be confusingly
formatted (for C like languages) or downright meaning changed (Haskell,
python). I know I certainly hate reading/patching source code in any
language when the original writer used tab characters because you have to
play the `figure out what interpretation of tab produces sensibly
laid-code' game and then temporarily reset your editor to that. (You can
probably tell that I much prefer the mechanism where the tab key is a
configurable input mechanism but the representation in the file is an
unambiguous one using spaces) . I think it's really the fault of ASCII for
allowing the tab character code which has user-defined semantics, just
like the other abomination the form-feed character.

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