Notes to self

Not gold alone brought us hither

Sep 19, 2010

Code formatting

One interesting detail about Google’s new programming language Go is the code formatting tool called gofmt that is bundled right into the Go developer kit. It shows the extent to which the creators of the language care about code formatting. Programmers who are not bothered by poor code formatting will find this tool unnecessary, but most programmers are likely to be bothered by lack of good formatting.

Most programming languages, especially the popular ones, do have utilities that help format code, but it is rare to see this being part of the developer kit from the creators of the language. This could well be a new trend that we will see in the languages of the future. This will also reduce the overhead of sweating over formatting rules in a programming team’s coding guidelines.

The only downside of standardizing formatting rules for a language is: it will now be hard to judge a programmer’s maturity by just looking at their code. I know you are saying ‘but thats no way to judge a programmer!’ I agree, but it is also hard to ignore it entirely.