Saturday, November 21, 2020

The Point of 'No Return'

The Point of 'No Return'
Welcome to \new world

I believe that life is important...
...and way too much of it has been wasted on dealing with issues arising from inconsistencies between line endings.

A modest proposal:
In today's world most programs can handle the line ending \n correctly.
The 'No Return' movement seeks to make inconsistent lines ends a thing of the past.
There are 3 practices on the path to achieve this:
  1. By default never use \r\n line ending in anything that it outputs.
  2. Have a toggle to turn this off for people stuck in the past
  3. (optional) On reading, replace all '\r\n' with a '\n' on any file used by the program

Don't most programs already have the ability to toggle?

Yes, but they tend to default to the version of the system. Meaning Windows perpetuates the line ending inconsistency problem.  If you have dealt with this issue (which you probably have) this is why.
Most people don't change the defaults. We need to start making inconsistent line endings a very rare exception

It's just two options, is it really such a big deal?

It shouldn't be. But I personally have spent weeks of my life dealing with this issue. If you were to total up the hours of all programmers it's lifetimes of people, and it isn't going away. Our current path is pass this problem on to the next generation. We need a path to end it.

But isn't there a reason for \r\n?

Yes, it was based on the way typewriters worked. We are still dealing with legacy from type writers.

Ok, you've convinced me, how do I signup?

Simple, copy the above logo and add it to your site, link to this article and add the 3 rules to your code base.

note: I originally wrote this in august of 2014. For some reason I never published this. I'm finally doing it in November 2020 because I'm still dealing with this issue....