Autoformatting is a common practice in languages communities like Go. Now, this practice is coming to Elixir as part of the language. Borrowing the arguments in favor of autoformatting from the Go community, autoformatted code ought to be:

  • Easier to write: never worry about minor formatting concerns while hacking away.
  • Easier to read: when all code looks the same you need not mentally convert others' formatting style into something you can understand.
  • Easier to maintain: mechanical changes to the source don't cause unrelated changes to the file's formatting; diffs show only the real changes.
  • Uncontroversial: never have a debate about spacing or brace position ever again!

Whether you agree with all these points or not, the Elixir language (which is largely written in Elixir) just underwent a massive community-powered refactor to conform with its new built-in formatter. New pull requests to Elixir must satisfy the formatter to be considered for acceptance. The Elixir community is behind the tool, and running it on your Elixir project is going to become the norm.