Centralized formatter options … Let me play the devil’s advocate for a moment. Why would I have to be forced to use the same options as some other colleague? For instance, myself I might like everything stacked, much spacing, parentheses on a line by their own etc. etc. But someone else might prefer his code the condensed way, as much text on a line as can be, because he prefers to see more of the code on his screen.
After all, what is formatting all about? It’s not about drawing a nice picture, it’s about making code comprehensible, easy to catch and to understand. Formatting should eventually lead to more productivity due to faster understanding (less “human parsing and analyzing”) and less coding errors. For instance, here at Quest I’m coding together with Paul a few days a week on a 30" monitor equipped with two keyboards and two mice via a KVM switch. Both of us can understand each others code portions very quickly because we use the same formatting in a very strict way. We catch coding errors quickly via “missing” or “ill positioned” text elements, not syntax errors but formatting standard violations.
I advocate individualized formatter options which would be automatically applied whenever viewing or editing code. This resembles viewing an HTML web page where you can override fonts and colors, and font sizes, at least to some extent. Also most pages will be adjusted to the available window width.
How should we store edited and user formatted text to a shared repository (database or file system) ? I feel that the only way is the have the database of file system have its own formatter preferences to which the text has to be formatter before “entering” (saving). The database/fs is just another “user” who wants to “see” its code in a particular format, at least because there might be other tools around reading the code without formatting it. The formatter preferences might then follow the company standards.
Okay, the above is my personal view. But let’s at least discuss around it. Do you dear users agree or have some other opinion … ?