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Re: Let's tell we are using GTK+

From: Miles Bader
Subject: Re: Let's tell we are using GTK+
Date: 05 Aug 2003 10:27:17 +0900

Paul Jarc wrote:
> > Do people really always include the `+' in the name?  It seems sort of
> > superfluous and annoying in this case.  Why not just use the symbol
> > `gtk-toolkit' for emacs?
> It would be nice if the same name were used everywhere.  So in the
> absence of any concrete problem, I'd prefer "gtk+", since that's the
> name given to that package by its maintainers.

It's not used consistently as it is; in fact, it seems to be used more
often _without_ the `+' than with it, e.g.:

  name of the library:        libgtk.so
  name of the init file:      .gtkrc
  name of include file:       <gtk-2.0/gtk/gtk.h>           (thrice!)
  name of the feature macro:  USE_GTK                       (in emacs)
  prefix used by functions:   gtk_...
  path for rc file in themes: gtk/gtkrc

Really the only place the `+' ever seems to be used is in documentation;
otherwise dropping it is apparently the convention, especially in
`technical' contexts.

> What makes + any more superfluous or annoying than g, t, or k?

Because in contexts like this (naming of symbols used in an programming
interface), punctuation tends to be be one of two things:

 (1) Noise added for readability, usually in a standard way (e.g., `_'
     in function names); usually in this case it acts basically like
     whitespace, and so tends to be ignored.

 (2) `Meaningful,' but again, used in a very stylized fashion, e.g., the
     `?' suffix used for scheme predicates, or various C conventions for
     underline prefixes.

Anything that doesn't follow these conventions ends up being harder to
use, because your brain likes to force things to fit with rules it's
used to, even when it really shouldn't.

This is especially true with `+', as it's visually not all that distinct
from other characters that _are_ used in one of the above standardized
ways (and in the case of the suggested emacs lisp symbol, the `+' was
adjacent to a `-', which makes things even more fuzzy).

80% of success is just showing up.  --Woody Allen

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