How many spaces is a tab in Java, Rust, C++, Python, C#, Powershell, Golang, Javascript

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How many spaces is a tab in Java, Rust, C+,, Python, C#, Powershell, Golang, etc.

A tab is not made out of spaces. It is a tab, whether in Java, Python, Rust, or generic text file editing. It is represented by a single Unicode character, U+0009.

It does not generally mean “insert this many spaces here” either. It means “put the cursor at the next closest tab stop in the line”. What that means exactly depends on the context. On an old typewriter I had, a tab key would advance the roller to the next column that was a multiple of 10

That is pretty much the same function as the tab character does.

Just for reference, modern text editors have their tab stops set to either every 4 or every 8 characters. That doesn’t mean that 1 tab = 4/8 spaces, that means that putting in a tab will align the cursor with the next multiple of 4/8 columns

In mainstream IDEs you can set the tab key to insert a desired number of spaces instead of a tab character.

 The concept of tab independent of space is rarely used these days. In any case, what the character represents is decoupled from what the key does is decoupled from what the screen shows.

In many IDEs, the tab character inserts the required number of spaces to advance to the next tab line. This is often a default.

I imagine it’s a compromise between tab loving extremists and space advocates. The ideal whitespace character is a subject of intense debate among programmers.

Source: Quora

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