[Haskell-cafe] Optimal line length for haskell

Alexander Solla alex.solla at gmail.com
Mon Oct 29 15:28:50 CET 2012

On Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 6:52 AM, Michael Orlitzky <michael at orlitzky.com>wrote:

> On 10/29/2012 07:50 AM, Rustom Mody wrote:
> > There was a recent discussion on the python list regarding maximum line
> > length.
> > It occured to me that beautiful haskell programs tend to be plump (ie
> > have long lines) compared to other languages whose programs are
> 'skinnier'.
> > My thoughts on this are at
> > http://blog.languager.org/2012/10/layout-imperative-in-functional.html.
> >
> > Are there more striking examples than the lexer from the standard
> prelude?
> > [Or any other thoughts/opinions :-) ]
> In any language, a line longer than 80 characters usually (but not
> always) suggests that you might want to stop and rethink your design. In
> many cases a refactoring or two will greatly simplify the code and
> reduce your line length as a result.

I disagree.  That might be true for imperative languages, where width is
indicative of deep nesting and its associated problems.  But it is not true
for a functional language, where it is merely indicative of a wide "normal
form".  Yes, the normal form can sometimes be refactored, but to what end?
 You might easily end up refactoring out of the level of abstraction you
actually want.  Or the wide form might have useful properties, like the
ability to sort the lines of source code alphanumerically (which would be
lost if you switched to a stanza-based format)
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