Transition from modelines to EditorConfig
S.N.Maijers at structure.systems
Sat Feb 24 16:50:27 UTC 2018
In order to maintain optimally readable code, and waste minimal amount
of development time on manual routine text (re)formatting, LibreOffice
requires clear text formatting (also, ‘code style’) guidelines. Ideally,
these guidelines would not only be clear to contributors (assuming they
are aware of them), but also be checkable and applicable automatically,
i.e. be rules.
EditorConfig (http://editorconfig.org/) is standard configuration file
format, that serves to specify basic text formatting rules. It was
designed to partially fulfill the previously introduced requirement. It
allows LibreOffice broad control over text formatting rules, and helps
text editing software to then apply these rules before anything is
committed. This all happens in a way transparent to and easy on
contributors. IDE/editor support for EditorConfig is very complete at
present, and works independent of platform conventions. EditorConfig
fits in the larger picture as complement to language-specific text
formatting rules, e.g. clang-format rules.
Currently, LibreOffice developers appear to use Vim modelines for this
purpose, but quite choatically. For example, within a single source code
file multiple modeline-style comments can be found, e.g. one Emacs-style
and one vim-style
Modeline-style methods for text formatting rules differ from
EditorConfig in a number of ways. The differences are mainly down to
weaknesses of modelines, as already convincingly argued in e.g.
https://github.com/vim/vim/issues/2286#issue-271201325. I will add a few
points. Classical Unix editor-specific configuration is not
contributor-friendly. Note also that Vim modelines can increase security
risk to developers
Finally, modelines do nothing to control formatting of non-source code
files such as CSV or plain text files.
I propose to:
- Decide on detailed text formatting guidelines.
- Implement the relevant part of these rules in one or more EditorConfig
- Phase out any other mechanisms for text formatting that is now covered
by these EditorConfig files.
Please let me know what you think of this.
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