On 3 July 2014 18:31:04 BST, Tobiah <tshep...@rcsreg.com> wrote:
>Coworker takes PEP8 as gospel and uses 4 spaces
>to indent.  I prefer tabs.  Boss want's us to

This isn't worth arguing about. Pick a convention, it's probably going to be a 
compromise, get used to it. PEP8 is as good a base as any, and is (mostly) 
directly supported by various syntax checking tools such as flake8 and pylama 
(which I think both use the pep8 tool underneath), and the modes of various 
editors. Any good editor will make indentation painless, whichever method you 
settle on.

>Anyway, I gave up the 80 char line length long
>ago, having little feeling for some dolt on
>a Weiss terminal that for some reason needs to
>edit my code.

Putting the code factoring considerations aside, because others have already 
mentioned them and I'm sure others will, there are some other practical reasons 
for limiting line width:

I often use multiple editors side-by-side or in split window mode. If I'm 
limited to one screen I'll probably also have documentation open on that 
screen. Having to side scroll, or have a single editor take up most of the 
width of the display forcing switching between windows, seems to me to be more 
harmful than good for productivity.

There is plenty of research on the readability of prose, less so on code, but 
some of the considerations apply to code too. I'll pick out three of them.

The first probably applies less to code (because code is generally line-based 
and the line widths vary; it's not just a big wall of text): people tend to 
find it harder to track from one line to the next with longer lines of text.

The second has to do with focus: as the reader continues along a line of text 
their focus dwindles, it seems that starting a new line renews focus.

Thirdly, it may seem unintuitive given that we appear to have more capacity for 
horizontal movement of the eyes, but excessively long lines can cause more work 
for them potentially inducing eyestrain. We focus near the centre. Our 
peripheral vision either side is less discerning of details and more on 
movement (such as an attacker). We must move our eyes to continue reading long 
lines, and possibly even move our heads. This is a problem for vertical 
movement too, and happens if lines are too short. (I have no idea how this 
affects readers of vertical scripts.)

> I feel rather the same about the
>spaces and tabs, given that most people seem to
>be using editors these days that are configurable
>to show tabs a four characters.

Conversely, those same editors can probably automatically indent and unindent a 
configurable amount of spaces. If you don't use such an editor, and you really 
can't tolerate the different style, you can use another tool to reindent your 


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