[TUHS] 80 columns ...

Dan Cross crossd at gmail.com
Thu Nov 9 07:34:13 AEST 2017


On Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 4:24 PM, Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:
> 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.

Lots of them can also handle two 100 column windows, or perhaps more
realistically 82- or 85-column windows, but here's the thing that I
don't buy about that argument: if given a large enough screen,
proponents would claim that they needed 3 side-by-side windows instead
of two. As a simple test, I can put two 100x75 windows side-by-side on
my desktop here at work, using a font size big enough for my
deteriorating eyesight. I can fit three 80x75 windows next to one
another, but I can fit *4* 60-column windows next to each other.

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

But what about 3-way merge 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.

Language is a funny thing. Well, I better get back in the saddle and
write some code.

        - Dan C.


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