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Coding Standards

According to the dictionary, "standard" stands for “something considered by an authority or by general consent as a basis of comparison; an approved model.” Now you may ask why we need to complicate our lives with the adoption of some coding standards. The answer to this question lies in the following pages.

Author Info:
By: Gabor Bernat
Rating: 5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars / 9
March 05, 2008
  1. · Coding Standards
  2. · The Advantages and Disadvantages
  3. · A Taste of Standards
  4. · More About Standards
  5. · Conclusions

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Coding Standards - The Advantages and Disadvantages
(Page 2 of 5 )

Let's just enumerate the reasons why we should get into the habit of using coding standards. The first advantage is that any programmer can get involved in any program because s/he will figure out its "inner working" without massive effort. Consequently, from this results the second advantage: new people can make an overall picture of the current situation of the application and can drive directly into the future of development, without wasting time with unorganized code. If you are new to the team or the code, there's no need to develop an individual style or to make some common mistake.

Having a coding standard means having a good way to avoid and eliminate mistakes; it also makes for code that is easier to read and understand. The code created under a standard is typically clean, organized, and aesthetic. You'll also find it easier to understand your own code while you are creating it, and put fewer bugs in your programs. Even when they occur, they will be easier to spot by you or anyone else assigned to debugging your code. 

As good as it sounds, some drawbacks can also be observed. The standard was made by someone who doesn't understand you personally. Your individual needs are unknown to the creator(s) of standard(s), so they might be in conflict with common sense. Standards reduce creativity and encapsulate the programmer in a monotonous routine-like world. Standards can also impose too much structure and people tend to ignore the standards.

Nonetheless, people often don't understand standards. They shouldn't be considered "musts"; they are more likely just possible roads. For a team resonating on the same frequency and eager to maximize their efficiency, accepting a common standard is the first thing to do. This way everyone will know what to expect before opening a file. So just gather the team and form a standard accepted by everyone for turning the development process into a fun and smooth action. Writing quality code from the beginning by respecting some commonly accepted rules can also benefit you as a programmer, since you will end up with  "readable" code and less accommodation time when you get involved with a new team.

Let's take a brief look at these standards so we can better understand the idea and main concepts.

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