[TUHS] 80 columns ...

Jon Steinhart jon at fourwinds.com
Sat Nov 11 08:59:23 AEST 2017

Toby Thain writes:
> On 2017-11-10 3:43 PM, Jon Steinhart wrote:
> > Toby Thain writes:
> >> Just don't move on without some limit. There are real
> >> cognitive/typographic reasons why excessively long lines hurt
> >> comprehension. This is why both 500 year old books and 5 month old books
> >> have narrow measures.
> >>
> >> 80 might be too narrow for most, but at some point beyond 132 is "too
> >> far". :)
> > 
> > Well, I would claim that books have technological limitations that are
> > different than computer monitors.  It's a matter of doing what's appropriate
> > instead of taking a dogmatic approach.
> It's _reading_. Code doesn't magically escape typographic factors. The
> human visual/processing system is the constraint, it does not care
> whether you're reading paper or the more hostile LCD - and it has not
> changed materially in the millennia we've been doing writing (and
> certainly not the 500 years we've been doing books). There is also a
> body of modern research on this. Even research specifically focused on
> code, I believe.

I'm not unfamiliar with the studies.  Most are focus on speed of reading
which is not necessarily the most important thing in code.  Some studies
have found that things that are easier to read are read less accurately
which might be OK when reading a novel but is not necessarily optimal for

Me, I try not to be dogmatic or to read what I want into studies.  Well
written long lines trump cryptic short lines for me.  Your mileage may


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