layout rule infelicity

Frank Atanassow
Thu, 30 May 2002 12:43:52 +0200

[redirected to haskell-cafe]

Ashley Yakeley wrote (on 30-05-02 03:18 -0700):
> At 2002-05-30 02:54, Lennart Augustsson wrote:
> >If you look at C (& offspring), it's not the {;} that makes the code
> >readable, it's the indentation that does.  So why not acknowledge that?
> In C, the indentation is an important visual clue, but there are many 
> different indentation styles.

I think there are not so many different _indentation_ styles. The differences
seem mostly to revolve around where to put _the braces_. And one might argue
that the reason for that is precisely that it's so arbitrary, since the
indentation is the main visual clue to structure anyway.

Personally, I always try to factor out arbitrariness from my programs. I think
layout does the same thing for syntax.

> If you're used to braces, complicated Haskell expressions with layout 
> look confusing, since it's not immediately clear which indentation style 
> the layout rules are trying to enforce.

If you're used to C, then layout and indentation will be the least of your
difficulties when you start using Haskell...

Anyway, I have the feeling that, for every person on this list who complains
about layout being unintuitive, there are 10 people who would say the
opposite. Shall we take a poll?

Frank Atanassow, Information & Computing Sciences, Utrecht University
Padualaan 14, PO Box 80.089, 3508 TB Utrecht, Netherlands
Tel +31 (030) 253-3261 Fax +31 (030) 251-379