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Re: Code formatter

From: Graham Percival
Subject: Re: Code formatter
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 2009 23:03:27 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.18 (2008-05-17)

On Thu, Nov 12, 2009 at 05:52:30PM -0500, Chris Snyder wrote:
> After the on-going discussion that included talk about formatting, I did  
> a quick search for automatic code formatters, starting with one for the  
> C++ code (I think it's reasonable to expect to use a different formatter  
> for each programming language). I came across one - astyle  
> - that has the GNU style built in and is  
> painless to use. I gave it a try, and it seems to work quite well.
> I'd be willing to run all of the C++ code through astyle and provide a  
> patch, but it seems like it would be easier if someone with push access  
> to git would do it. Any takers?

Woah there, cowboy.  Slow down!

It's not going to be that easy.  At a rough guess, I'd say that
the "code formatter" task will take 10-20 hours.  Seriously.

- do we really want separate tools?   (no, so "is it impossible to
  have a single tool that does both" comes to mind)
- what does astyle do differently than the current code?
- what *is* the current standard, by the way?
   (hint: the answer appears to be "whatever emacs does, plus a
    random python script that few people know about, and also a
    special dance depending on the phase of the moon")

I'm afraid that you won't get many positive responses until you
look at the previous discussion about this issue.  Again, the main
developers have been bitten by people in the past asking many
questions, spending hours explaining things to them, but then
ultimately giving up and disappearing.

I don't want to be discouraging, but most people won't take you
seriously unless you prove that you've done your research.  I'm
sorry, I know this *does* sound discouraging... but we have had
*years* of experience with people not following through.  You know
the expression "once bitten, twice shy?"  for us, it's "ten times
bitten, twenty times shy".

I'm sorry to be discouraging -- again, I think this would be a
*fantastic* project, especially if it handles scheme as well --
but it will be a *lot* more work than you're envisioning at the

- Graham

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