[sc34wg3] CTM semicolons etc

tom lurge thomas at stray.net
Fri Feb 1 08:34:43 EST 2008


i followed some of the debate about semicolons etc lately but not all  
of it, so please forgive me if is state the already obvious...

the languages i know quite well are html, xml, css, vrml and some  
javascript. especially css and vrml work with "{ ... }" and ";". as  
you can see from the languages i know i'm not a programmer but rather  
a web designer (and wanna be knowledge worker).

if i want code to be readable (for me or for someone else) i use

	line breaks
	sometimes comments

especially identation is a very powerfull way to structure code  
visually. line breaks are even more powerfull - you barely have to  
think about there meaning. compare that with a semicolon...

there's an exemption from the rule, of course: when i code something  
that i know i don't have to touch later or that i want to get out of  
my way visually, i put multiple attribute-value-pairs in one row and  
am glad that semicolons allow me to do so. but if i understood lars  
marius right the parser even then wouldn't need semicolons. i wouldn't  
need them either since one or two more blanks would help me more to  
quickly distinguish one name-value-pair from the other.

i would never use commas or semicolons to make my code more readable.  
in my eyes they just add visual clutter. i only regard them as a  
necessary to make the parsers know what i want to express. if that's  
wrong and even parsers don't need that stuff than i would happily omit  
them alltogether. forgotten semicolons eg in javascript cost me years  
of my life... they are hard to spot (not only) for the novice user if  
no debugger is at hand. extra punctuation requires extra typing which  
i wouldn't regard as very user friendly. so i'd say: if they are not  
required for parsing - throw them out!

i would also not like if the outcome of this debate is that certain  
punctuation is "optional". that makes exchange unnecessarily difficult  
(yeah, i know, xtm is the exchange format, but frankly: who is so sure  
about the great future of excessive use of '<' and '>' anymore?). i  
could live with either option, but omitting semicolons and the like  
wherever possible certainly would make my non-programmers life easier.


world:~# Broadcast message from root at world.org: The system is going  
down for system halt NOW!

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