[TUHS] 80 columns ...

Jon Steinhart jon at fourwinds.com
Sat Nov 11 05:05:28 AEST 2017

Nemo writes:
> On 9 November 2017 at 14:14, Ron Natalie <ron at ronnatalie.com> wrote:
> > At least it’s not python where the indenting makes a semantic difference.
> And for that reason, I have never used Python.  (I have a mental block
> about that.)

I agree on Python but for a slightly different reason.  In 1981 I wrote a
user interface for the Tektronix microprocessor development systems.  The
executable plus all of the script data had to fit in memory on the PDP-11.
This was an exercise in byte-counting to make everything fit because of the
cost of overflowing a segment by a byte.  Because of this I used indent
level as part of the scripting language.  Got beaten to a pulp by other folks
in the group about it and had to waste a few precious bytes processing curly
braces instead.  So I'm too scarred to be able to use Python without cringing.

Separate from this, I think that the whole 80 column thing is a bit silly.
I have used 132 as by default for a long time now.  Would go wider but just
because I have always found it worthwhile spending money on the best monitors
doesn't mean that everyone else can.  Everything including my laptop is now
a UHD monitor which rocks!

I feel that longer lines work better than one-character variable names.
And, longer lines are way more readable than wrapped lines.  I have never
been fond of the notion that code should be broken up into functions for the
purpose of keeping lines short; I feel that code should be broken up into
functions if it makes sense to do so, for example if the functions are used
more than once.  Writing for the limitations of the I/O device doesn't seem
to be a good paradigm.

In any case, I don't think that being an old UNIX person means that one has
to live in the past.  There was nothing magic about 80 columns; it was just
the technology of the time.  Technology has changed, so move on.


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