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From: Rob Stewart (stewart_at_[hidden])
Date: 2002-09-09 11:22:26

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From: =?Windows-1252?Q?Terje_Sletteb=F8?= <tslettebo_at_[hidden]>
>From: "David Abrahams" <dave_at_[hidden]>
> >From: "Terje Slettebø" <tslettebo_at_[hidden]>
> >> The following have probably been covered before, but I didn't find a
> >> rationale for it here ( Why are
> >> tabs banned in Boost libraries?
> >Its roughly the same reasons as we format for fixed-width fonts.
> >
> "Dave Abrahams comments: An important purpose (I daresay the primary
> purpose) of source code is communication: the documentation of intent. This
> is a doubly important goal for boost, I think. Using a fixed-width font
> allows us to communicate with more people, in more ways (diagrams are
> possible) right there in the source. Code written for fixed-width fonts
> using spaces will read reasonably well when viewed with a variable-width
> font, and as far as I can tell every editor supporting variable-width fonts
> also supports fixed width. I don't think the converse is true."
> How does this apply to tabs? More or less all editors have support for tabs,
> and for setting the tab size. Do you mean to say that because some may use
> Notepad to write programs, others won't be able to benefit from using the
> tab size they prefer?

Different people use different toolsets. Some editors are more powerful than
others, of course, and that's always a factor. However, when I print a file, it
goes from some command line tool, if I choose, to the printer. It doesn't go
through my editor. (I'm primarily on Solaris at work.) I could probably find a
tool that would convert tabs to spaces according to some rule, through which I
could process Boost files, so I could get appropriate printed output. However,
even if there was a standard for indentation at Boost, other libraries doing the
same thing might have a different rule for mapping tabs to spaces. If there is
no standard, but each library author is free to choose his/her own rule, then
things get even harder. For these reasons, using tabs for indentation is a
lousy practice.

Your contention that tabs are some form of markup is only useful if the tabs are
visible. If they aren't visible, then the whitespace viewed in an editor or on
the printed page is indistinguishable and there is no markup.

Rob Stewart                           stewart_at_[hidden]
Software Engineer           
Susquehanna International Group, LLP  using std::disclaimer;

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