edit with minimal overhead (vim edition). small enough to be fast, but feature-ful enough to get my work done.

vim has a lot of native syntax support. in most cases, the "support" script is a line or two of configuration to enable it for specific file extensions.

jsyk why tabs > spaces


i've been slightly dismayed, that in every tabs-vs-spaces debate i can find on the web, nobody is talking about the accessibility consequences for the visually impaired

let me illustrate with a quick story, why i irrevocably turned from a spaces to tabs guy

i recently worked at a company that used tabs

i created a new repository, and thought i was being hip and modern, so i started to evangelize spaces for the 'consistency across environments'

i get approached by not one, but TWO coworkers who unfortunately are highly visually impaired, and each has a different visual impairment

  • one of them uses tab-width 1 because he uses such a gigantic font-size
  • the other uses tab-width 8 and a really wide monitor
  • these guys have serious problems using codebases with spaces, they have to convert, do their work, and then unconvert before committing
  • these guys are not just being fussy — it's almost surprising they can code at all, it's kind of sad to watch but also inspiring

at that moment, i instantaneously conceded — there's just no counter-argument that even comes close to outweighing the accessibility needs of valued coworkers

'consistency across environments' is exactly the problem for these guys, they have different needs

just think of how rude and callous it would be to overrule these fellas needs for my precious "consistency when i post on stack overflow"

so what would you do, spaces people, if you were in charge? overrule their pleas?

from that moment onward, i couldn't imagine writing code in spaces under the presumption that "nobody with visual impairment will ever need to work with this code, probably", it's just a ridiculous way to think, especially in open-source

i'll admit though, it's a pain posting tabs online and it gets bloated out with an unsightly default 8 tab-width — however, can't we see clearly that this is a deficiency with websites like github and stackoverflow and reddit here, where viewers are not easily able to configure their own preferred viewing tab-width? websites and web-apps obviously have the ability to set their own tab width via css, and so ultimately, aren't we all making our codebases worse as a workaround for the deficiencies in these websites we enjoy? why are these code-viewing apps missing basic code-viewing features?

in the tabs-vs-spaces debate, i see people saying "tabs lets us customize our tab-width", as though we do this "for fun" — but this is about meeting the real needs of real people who have real impairments — how is this not seen as a simple cut-and-dry accessibility issue?

i don't find this argument in online debates, and wanted to post there here out in the blue as a feeler, before i start ranting like this to my next group of coworkers ;)

is there really any reason, in favor of spaces, that counter balances the negative consequences for the visually impaired?

cheers friends,

👋 Chase