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THE BEST SOFTWARE WRITING I by Joel Spolsky

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Ken ArnoldSTYLE IS SUBSTANCE1

Python did something really interesting: it made whitespace matter for the first time in a major programming language since FORTRAN on punched cards. In Python, the way you create a block is not by surrounding it with begin and end or { and }, but by indenting it. That's all.

A lot of geeks instinctively cringed. "Whitespace should never matter!" they claimed, without remembering why. The main reason was that you couldn't always see whitespace, because it's, um, white. So, for instance, in the standard Unix Make, where certain lines must begin with a tab character, if you or your editor replaced such a tab character with eight spaces (how helpful!), you would suddenly find your makefile didn't work, and without ...

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