Re: [Rd] Tabs in R source code

From: Peng Yu <>
Date: Thu, 03 Dec 2009 20:38:52 -0600

On Sun, Nov 29, 2009 at 11:18 AM, Duncan Murdoch <> wrote:
> On 29/11/2009 11:50 AM, Peng Yu wrote:
>> On Sun, Nov 29, 2009 at 10:40 AM, Duncan Murdoch <>
>> wrote:
>>> On 29/11/2009 10:58 AM, Peng Yu wrote:
>>>> Some lines are indented by tabs and some lines are indented by spaces,
>>>> in R source code. This might due to the fact that the source code is
>>>> not from a single person. But I think that it is better to enforce a
>>>> single convention.
>>>> My editor defaults a tab to 8 spaces. So some source doesn't seem to
>>>> be indented correctly in my editor. Since tab may be displayed
>>>> differently in different editor, I recommend to replace all the tabs
>>>> by the appropriate number of spaces to ensure the same indentation
>>>> display.
>>> The R source code assumes that tabs occur every 8 columns, so if your
>>> editor
>>> is working properly, it should display files as intended.
>>>> Could somebody update the source code in the future version by
>>>> replacing tabs by spaces and enforce such a coding convention in the
>>>> future?
>>> No, that would not be feasible, for the reason you give in the second
>>> sentence of your post.
>> I don't understand why it is not feasible. The spaces are displayed
>> the same in all editors. If there are no tabs, the code should display
>> the same in all editors. I know some languages that are recommended to
>> have spaces rather than tabs for this reason.
> It is not feasible because it would require everyone who edits the source
> code to change the configuration of their editors.  In my case, that would
> require changing about 3 different types of editors (I work on several
> different platforms).  I would probably miss one, and re-introduce tabs the
> next time I edited a file on that editor.

Here is the R style, which does not recommend using tabs. Although it might take some time to forbidden the use of tabs, it will eventually be a good practice that benefits everyone in the future.

> I've already seen problems in the NEWS and CHANGES files, which have
> recently changed to UTF-8 encoding.  It's very irritating that my editor
> switches back to the Windows default if it doesn't see a byte-order mark,
> and that some editors that I use automatically delete the BOM. Requiring a
> particular "encoding" for tabs (i.e. converting them to spaces) would lead
> to the same problems, but on a much bigger scale.
> Duncan Murdoch
> mailing list Received on Fri 04 Dec 2009 - 02:41:37 GMT

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