Help should fit in a 80 columns terminal

Pino Toscano pino at
Sat Jan 23 18:15:41 GMT 2010


> I saw that some help, provided by the --help option, could hold some very
>  long strings making its difficult to read, particularly in some
>  translation - french translation strings are often longer than english
>  one.
> As an example, you could see the output of "plasmoidviewer --help".
> So, I think the output of the --help option should fit in a 80 columns
> terminal, with of course some flexibility.
> As the option description starts at column 29, strings should be less than
>  51 characters.
> And to help translators, it could be added a context string like:
> "TRANSLATORS: this is the description of a command line option. If your
> translation is longer than 50 characters, you are encouraged to add
>  breaklines every time you need."
> This context should be added for every option description, even if the
>  english description is really short, and this could become a general
>  development rule.
> What do you think about this suggestion?

More than that, I guess it would make more sense using the UNIX terminal 
ioctl() API to get the size of the terminal, and adapt/reflow the help text of 
the options to it.

Pino Toscano
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