[Haskell-cafe] Re: Is 78 characters still a good option? Was: breaking too long lines

Achim Schneider barsoap at web.de
Tue Apr 21 08:47:40 EDT 2009

Dusan Kolar <kolar at fit.vutbr.cz> wrote:

> Dear all,
>   reading that
> > according the several style guides, lines shouldn't be too long
> > (longer than 78 characters).
> >
> > http://www.cs.caltech.edu/courses/cs11/material/haskell/misc/haskell_style_guide.html
> > http://www.haskell.org/haskellwiki/Programming_guidelines
> >   
> I would like to know, whether 78 characters bound still makes a
> sense... Even if I connect to my linux box with text terminal, it is
> not a 80x24 characters HW text terminal, but a window emulating this
> in whatever else OS, thus, I can usually extend this to see longer
> lines easily.
> Or is the reason much deeper? Or, is the bound set to 78 characters
> just because it is as good number as any other?
I can fit two 63-character terminals side by side on my screen, so
that's the size I usually use. The width also corresponds to an
portrait a4 page w/o margins, so I can usually read code by just moving
my eyes vertically. I think the best shape for code is approximates
1:sqrt(2), landscape : you shouldn't go 78 characters before you've hit
a function length of 55.154328932550705 lines or such.

This is Haskell, of course. With Java, I tend to sit at least a meter
further apart from the screen and have the console span both monitors,
after all, you somehow have to fit at least a single identifier on a

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