Indentation

From Academic Kids

An indentation can mean two things:

  • To make notches in something or form deep recesses in a coastline for instance.
  • To place text farther to the right to separate it from surrounding text.

The first meaning is also applied in hardness measurement as in indentation hardness.


For an example of the second meaning, this is an indentation of one space:

Indented block

and this is an indentation of two spaces:

Indented block 2

In the written form of many American and European languages, an indentation is used at the beginning of a line to signal the start of a new paragraph.

Indentation in programming

In computer programming languages, indentation is used to format source code in order to improve its readability. Indentation is generally only of use to programmers; compilers and interpreters rarely care how much whitespace is present inbetween programming statements. However, certain programming languages rely on the use of indentation in order to demarcate programming structure. The Haskell, Occam, and Python programming languages rely on indentation in this way.

Debates over where to indent, whether to use spaces or tabs, and how many spaces to use are often hotly debated among programmers, leading some to classify indentation as a religious war. Different indentation styles are commonly used.

fr:Indentation

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