[TUHS] 80 columns ...

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Thu Nov 9 07:24:24 AEST 2017


On Wed, Nov 08, 2017 at 04:19:49PM -0500, Dan Cross wrote:
> On Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 4:02 PM, Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:
> > On Wed, Nov 08, 2017 at 08:52:03PM +0000, ron minnich wrote:
> >> So, 80 column folks, would you find this
> >> a(b,
> >> c,
> >> d)
> >>
> >> more readable than
> >> a(b,c,d)
> >
> > yeah, I do.  I work on thinkpad x220 sized machines which are just big enough
> > for two 80 column windows with a little left over.  When I'm checking in code,
> > reviewing code, debugging code, I frequently want to see two versions of the
> > same file side by side.  If you code wider than 80 columns it greatly reduces
> > the speed at which you can figure out what happened.
> 
> The thing that sort of vexes me about these arguments is that the
> number 80 is so arbitrary. 

Not really.  Programmers need windows side by side.  Lots and lots of bit
mapped displays can handle 2 80 column windows at a reasonable font size.

And I made the point about side by side diff tools.

And I made the point about being able to read down the center and get the
rest through peripheral vision.

Would I like wider?  Not really, at this point the vast majority of the
code I look at, the man pages and other docs I look, they all fit in 80
columns.  Sure, you could pick something else but you are just fighting
reality.

It's like video on phones.  We still call it taping.  Probably still will
in a 100 years.  Where's the tape?  In history.


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