I don’t know why ‘spaces’ won against ‘tabs’

I spent five years in a codebase with tabs instead of spaces. In my editor, I had indents set to 2 spaces. GitHub annoyingly defaults to 8 and requires customization in order to fix that. Because of the prevalence of spaces, we often had to maintain forks of tooling to support tabs because ‘spaces has won.’

Tabs are nice for a variety of reasons, for one, I can specify how big a tab is, for another, there is less data that has to be parsed when building. When it’s a big project, that can actually make a difference.

Since leaving that company, I’ve yet to see a codebase using tabs over spaces. It’s pretty clear spaces won. I never really cared until using a codebase that was only tabs, and now I have to be annoyed with 4-space indents everywhere, with no way to change it.

I have no idea how spaces won, and I don’t really care (other than my slight annoyance that I will get over, eventually). Does anyone know?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.