Re: C++ Primer ex 6.20

"Alf P. Steinbach" <>
Tue, 07 Aug 2007 15:44:53 +0200
* James Kanze:

On Aug 7, 2:41 pm, "Alf P. Steinbach" <> wrote:

* Victor Bazarov:

Richard wrote:

[..] Obviously the good tab lengths (Linux
src is 8) [..]

The "tab length" is a setting of a text editor. How can "src" have
any "tab length"? Did you mean indentation offset in spaces? I,
personally, hate tab characters in the source.

Bah. As long as you just remember that 1 tab = 3 spaces, it's
a boon to productivity. I think. <g>

Seriously, 4 spaces per tab is of course the only sane choice.

The "standard" is (and always has been) eight. (Don't ask me
why, or who decided, but it goes back long before Unix.)

Ah, well, it has shifted a bit, like, continents drifting.

When I worked in Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), Norway, we had a
big motivational meeting where it was asked, how many spaces per tab?
Just for the hell of it I answered loud and clear: "three, of course".
And so that was decided... Just like that. I even managed to get away
with Petzold-style braces -- simply by referring to Petzold -- like

   void foo()
      int x = 666;
      if( 3 == x )
         cout << "Hola hola!" << endl;

Note the extreme beauty of this. <g>

8 spaces per tab was so common once that it's part of the Windows
command interpreter and the Windows standard editor Notepad, but
Microsoft set a precedent for 4 spaces per tab in Windows programming,
and so nearly all Windows programming editors have that as default. Or
at least, nearly all reasonable Windows programming editors. If it has
8 spaces per tab as default, then it just isn't reasonable, because then
it can't handle Microsoft code without special configuration.

So, we have three main conventions:

   Unix: 8
   Firms that have adopted Alf's frivolous suggestion: 3
   Windows: 4

Of course, I'm sure that some folks will want to post here claiming that
I'm /stealing credit/ for the brilliant 3-spaces-per-tab idea. Hah! I
have a US patent on that...

A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is it such a bad thing?
A: Top-posting.
Q: What is the most annoying thing on usenet and in e-mail?

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