GCI Task review: breaking up long lines

Joel Sherrill Joel.Sherrill at OARcorp.com
Wed Dec 5 05:08:39 UTC 2012

Code is still printed and unless you enjoy small fonts and reviewing printouts in landscape mode, it is a reasonable requirement.

One could technically write code with no line breaks at all but that would be unpleasant. :-)

Books are printed without excessively long lines. There is a human factors issue at work here involving line length.  Different types of material have different length ranges for better comprehension. Our 80 column limit is in line with FDA recommendations for medical labelling.  We want high comprehension like they do.

FWIW I am on an Open Group effort and all code examples, prototypes, etc in the document have to be less than about 76 columns to print as expected in the standard. 80 is generally a good for when printing.

I will not back off this requirement as it has nothing to do with cards and VT100s.

Ralf Corsepius <ralf.corsepius at rtems.org> wrote:

On 12/05/2012 01:05 AM, Gedare Bloom wrote:
> Hello,
> We're planning to have GCI students attempt to break up lines longer
> than 80 characters. I have created a description of the task at [1],
> please check that the directions are clear and that the way to handle
> long lines is stated well.
> If anyone has objections to this as a task please say so, or forever
> hold your peace.

Yes, I don't see much sense in such undertaking, but stylishness.

It made sense 30 years ago, when people were programming on punch cards
and it made sense 20 years ago, when people were programming on vt100s,
but times have changed ...

When not carefully done, limiting line lengths to 80 chars is reducing
code readability and maintainability, and is likely to break code.


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