Forget abortion and gun control; if you want to get programmers arguing at your next party, bring up tabs versus spaces when indenting code
By Phil Johnson
March 05, 2013, 12:15 PM — A couple of weeks ago I wrote about some of things that I found most frustrating about being a programmer, back when I was a programmer. One of those things was the size of indentation in code. Somewhere along the line, I was trained (or just started on my own; can’t recall) to set the tab key in my editor to four spaces. That’s what I stuck with for years and got used to seeing. When I read someone else’s code that used two or eight character tabs, I found it annoying. It wasn’t a dogmatic thing for me; I didn’t care that much. Four spaces was just my personal preference.
In the programmer community, though, discussions of coding style such as the size of code indentation can quickly turn into a holy war. Some people tend to have very strong opinions on it. It flared up a little bit in the comments some people made on the article; but there are plenty of lengthier (and more heated) discussions on it elsewhere on the web.