Editor Tab Expansion

Simon Marlow simonmar@microsoft.com
Fri, 6 Dec 2002 12:48:10 -0000

> No. My editor produces the ASCII code for horizontal tab,=20
> when I hit the tab key.
> Just as it produces the ASCII code for a when I hit the a key.
> That's how it should be.

Not true: most editors don't insert a ^H when you hit the backspace key,
so why should they insert ^I when you hit the tab key?

This whole problem boils down to one thing: people configure their
editors to display tab stops at something other than every 8 columns.
There's no reason not to use 8 column tab stops, so please don't do it.
Not only will your code be unreadable by someone using standard tab-stop
settings, but it will be interpreted differently by a Haskell compiler.

Tab characters are a primitive compression mechanism, nothing more.

No-one is saying that you can't use units of 4 columns for indentation,
just that you can't use tab characters for that.