the dreaded offside rule

Stefan Holdermans stefan at
Thu Mar 9 02:11:25 EST 2006


>>    1) it is impossible to explain the precise workings of the rule to
>> a class of first years undergraduates
> Then don't explain it to them. At York in the 3rd year Haskell course
> it is never explained in detail, I think it might be briefly mentioned
> in passing that some kind of indentation thing is used, but not
> focused on. I certainly don't have a clue what the rule is.

Well, that of course only works out well if students don't violate  
the offside rule. As soon as they do (for instance, because they use  
tabs instead of spaces to lay out their code), they want to know why  
the compiler rejects their programs. For students that have the right  
attitude, you can't just say that "it has something to do with  
indentation" then, because those will want to know the details then.



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