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From David Ezzio <dez...@apache.org>
Subject Re: [DISCUSS] Change line length code convention
Date Mon, 08 Jun 2009 21:27:57 GMT
Looks like I'm going to be in a minority here.

I've been around long enough to remember the reason for the 80 character 
length limit.  It predates 13 inch screens, side by side diff 
comparisons, monochrome consoles, and TTY terminals.  The IBM card punch 
had eighty columns, and it was simply impossible to type beyond the 
length of the card.  If we assume that we no longer have to consider the 
physical limitations of cards, we can consider what should really drive 
the limit today.

As for side by side diff comparisons, if that were really be our guide, 
then probably something like 60 characters would be more reasonable.  I 
doubt that any of us would like that.

Printers can usually handle 100 to 110 characters without much trouble 
particularly if you print in landscape mode.

I find that with today's wide format screens and the Eclipse IDE which 
has several useful windows, that 90 columns works pretty well.  Although 
this setting is only 10 extra columns, the extra space seems to be 
particularly useful in avoiding needless wasted space on screen and on 
paper.

Cheers,

David

Jeremy Bauer wrote:
> It took a while to get used to the 80 limit, but now I like it for the most
> part. Like Milosz, I especially like that it facilitates side-by-side
> comparisons without the need to scroll horizontally (or the use of a size 4
> font).
> 
> -Jeremy
> 
> On Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 10:54 AM, Donald Woods <dwoods@apache.org> wrote:
> 
>> Yep, same here.  The biggest complaint I have is because of Eclipse and its
>> weird behavior in how it does/doesn't wrap lines sometimes.
>>
>> Now that we have checkstyle setup and it's easy to discover problems during
>> a build (without having to rely on Eclipse), I can live with the 80 char
>> limit.
>>
>>
>> -Donald
>>
>>
>>
>> MiƂosz Tylenda wrote:
>>
>>> Hi!
>>>
>>> I used to hate the 80-char limit but then I realized I quite like it when
>>> comparing files side-by-side. Now I am neutral.
>>>
>>> Greetings,
>>> Milosz
>>>
>>>
>>>  Starting a separate thread to discuss the merit of 80 / 100 / 120 / {your
>>>> favorite length here} line lengths as a code convention.
>>>>
>>>> Since the project started we've adhered to the Sun code conventions [1]
>>>> and
>>>> recently introduced changes that enforce this length for source and test
>>>> code. This "archaic" limitation has been problematic in many areas, ie
>>>> generated metamodel classes.
>>>>
>>>> I think we can all agree that having some limit to line length is a
>>>> benefit
>>>> and the real contention is about the specific width in question.
>>>>
>>>> Sun's conventions justify 80 characters as being required for some
>>>> terminals
>>>> and tools. The debate has been taken up on several other sites [2],[3],
>>>> with
>>>> other justifications listed :
>>>>  * dispersed development team (some people still have 13" laptop screens)
>>>>  * it's easier to have multiple files open
>>>>  * going past 80 characters indicates a problem with the code. (ed.
>>>> comment
>>>> nice)
>>>>  * printer friendly
>>>>  * plenty more justifications mainly from the comments sections.
>>>>
>>>> I am not terribly bothered about where we set the limit so long as we
>>>> decide
>>>> on one and stick to it. Regarding this limit I think Aaron Rubin [4] said
>>>> it
>>>> best on the python-ideas list (he was talking about how to break lines
>>>> though) :
>>>>
>>>>  * >> This is an unsupported, and IMHO largely incorrect, assumption.
>>>> *>* >> Several correspondents have noted that they most often overrun
>>>> their
>>>> *>* >> intended line length by one or two characters.  Just as there's
>>>> *>* >> nothing magical about the number "80", there's nothing magical
>>>> about
>>>> *>* >> "81" or "82" either.  In a regime of 90-character lines,
the limit
>>>> *>* >> will most often be exceeded by one or two characters.  The
same
>>>> will
>>>> *>* >> happen in a regime of 100-character lines, etc.  We'll still
need
>>>> to
>>>> *>* >> break lines, and wrapping them in parentheses will still
be the
>>>> best
>>>> *>* >> way to do that.
>>>> *
>>>>
>>>> We started with 80 character columns and I don't think there's a
>>>> compelling
>>>> reason to change. I may be in the minority though, and if other devs feel
>>>> strongly about this issue I'd encourage them to reply to this thread. If
>>>> there's sufficient interest in a wider margin we can then start a [VOTE]
>>>> thread.
>>>>
>>>> [1] http://java.sun.com/docs/codeconv/html/CodeConventions.doc3.html
>>>> [2]
>>>>
>>>> http://richarddingwall.name/2008/05/31/is-the-80-character-line-limit-still-relevant/
>>>> [3]
>>>>
>>>> http://stackoverflow.com/questions/758545/maximum-line-length-of-your-ide-checkstyle
>>>> [4] http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-ideas/2009-May/004855.html
>>>>
>>>> -mike
>>>>
>>>>
> 

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