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

Miguel Mitrofanov miguelimo38 at
Thu Apr 23 04:26:07 EDT 2009

On 23 Apr 2009, at 12:17, Thomas Davie wrote:

> On 23 Apr 2009, at 10:02, Matthijs Kooijman wrote:
>>> Some material I've read on typography -- can't find the
>>> reference now -- suggests ~65 is the best number of characters
>>> per line. The advice was, if your page is larger than that,
>>> you should make columns.
>> That fits my observations. In particular, I noticed that your  
>> emails were
>> particularly comfortable to read, which might also be partly be  
>> caused by the
>> extra indent at the start of your lines, which also seems  
>> comfortable. Not
>> sure how applicabable all this is to code, though :-)
> I think the non-applicable to code observation is very likely true –  
> we'd like to be able to write nice descriptive variable names.  In  
> doing this, we probably want them to be more than the 1 or 2  
> characters that Haskellers traditionally use, maybe of the order of  
> 5-10.
> Given this, it would seem a shame to only be able to fit 6-13  
> litterals on a line, that sounds like we'll quickly be having to  
> wrap lines with deffinititions of any significance on them.
> My personal preference with Haskell is to ignore the 78 character  
> "limit", but only when layout otherwise becomes horrible otherwise.
> Haskell is a very horizontal language, and to limit our horizontal  
> space seems pretty weird.

+1. I sometimes use lines up to 200 characters long, when I feel they  
would be more readable.

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