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RE: if vs. when vs. and: style question

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: if vs. when vs. and: style question
Date: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 09:00:41 -0700 (PDT)

> Some months ago I experimented with using Unicode on my coding. I was
> very excited about it. At the end, the experience showed without a doubt
> that it is a bad idea. One of the reasons is very familiar to us: a
> funtamental feature of a programmer's font is how clearly it
> distinguishes 1 from l, 0 from O. Using Unicode makes this problem
> explode.

+1.  That is a problem, in general.

There are no doubt ways to mitigate it (font choice? highlighting?
font size?), and that might make it worthwhile for some people in
some contexts.  But visual clarity is definitely important.

Even just knowing that more than the usual set of chars (e.g. ASCII)
might be involved forces readers to look more carefully.  If they
know that only ASCII is involved then they are probably already
(e.g. unconsciously) paying attention to possible confusions such
as `1' and `l'.

For the same reason, adding more chars as possibilities also means
that users can need to even more carefully choose a font, finding
one that distinguishes such things well.  Fonts that people have
commonly been using for programming typically distinguish the
possible ASCII confusions pretty well.

> > How much costly was that α to type than alpha?? One backslash!!
> >
> > Add to that the fact that programs are read
> > - 10 times more than written during development
> > - 100 times more during maintenance
> Precisely, my experience is that Unicode makes things much harder to
> read, and not ony because the problem mentioned above.

What other problems would you point out in this regard?

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