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Right now I'm interning at a major engineering company. I'll be leaving in a few months though, so my project manager has requested a print out of my source code for a VBA project I've been working on.

He would like to have it reviewed to make sure I didn't do anything ridiculous, and to make sure it's organized well enough for someone to maintain easily enough once I'm gone.

I'm not really sure why he would want a print out instead of files, but since the VBA editor is ugly as sin this is probably a good thing.

I would like to make an impression with this - however minor - so my question is how can I make this look professional? I.e., maybe there are certain fonts that make sense here, perhaps I could apply a color scheme to the words, etc?

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Just make sure the lines aren't so long that they become unreadable when printed, try to adhere to the max 80 chars per line rule – James Jan 21 '13 at 23:28
up vote 11 down vote accepted

Use something like Notepad++ or a similar syntax highlighting application that will print out your code in colour (if you're allowed to). Otherwise, black and white is fine - but colour with highlighting makes it easier to read. Some points to consider:

  • Ensure you have consistant spacing and formatting in your code, and your code is as readable as you can possibly make it.

  • Make sure any code that spans over one line prints nicely, you may need to mess about a bit.

  • Use a monospaced font - it will improve readability by miles. Once again, most "advanced" notepad-like applications will do this for you by default.

  • Print with line numbers, as in a paper-based code review many people will refer to a line number rather than a statement when making comment.

  • Put a header and/or footer that contains the file/module name and page number. Even with line numbers printed, it's nice to have page numbers to give your readers an easy way to sort pages out in the event they get mixed up.

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If you understood him correctly

He would like to have it reviewed to make sure I didn't do anything ridiculous, and to make sure it's organized well enough for someone to maintain easily enough once I'm gone.

then that is your goal, not aesthetics or to please him because it makes you feel better.

When I write code that is for use for others, I write it for others with good comments, meaningful variable names, following the standard formatting conventions of the language or the group and move on.

If you didn't try and sabotage the company with malicious code then you probably pass the first requirement. If you have confidence in your code and good comments then what more do you need to meet his requirements. Print it out, hand it over and move on.

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"... a print out of my source code ..." - Don't bother. He probably won't even read it. I've had managers like that in the past - a long way in the past ... in old government departments ... who had no idea what programming was about - even then.

If you really want to do this, just dump your code and forget it. I suspect he's either deliberately messing with you or is totally 404. In either case, impressing him will not benefit you in any way and a request like that would be enough for me to put that company on my "Never want to work there list".

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I appreciate the warning but I can assure you this isn't the case. I'm 18 and have not yet gone to college yet, so my software development experience is very limited and it's reasonable to want to review what I've done to make sure it's not impossible to maintain my code when I'm gone, since they will actually need to use what I've built somewhat frequently. – Austin R Jan 21 '13 at 23:33
@AustinR: it is absolutely reasonable to want to review what you've done. I suspect that what drekka is saying is un reasonable is wanting to review a printout of it on paper. – Carson63000 Jan 21 '13 at 23:51
Back in college, I got homework assignments back with reviewed code from TAs with red marks all over it showing where I can improve. If the company lacks a comprehensive code review tool (gerrit or the like), then printed source as a way to collect all the thoughts and present them back to an individual is quite reasonable. Doubly true in the context of an internship where, to an extent, it is expected that the intern learn something. Printed feed back is much more useful in such a situation. – user40980 Jan 22 '13 at 0:46
-1 Asking for source code is in no way an unreasonable request. A company that does so gains a point in my book! – P.Brian.Mackey Jan 22 '13 at 0:49
How many lines of code are we talking about? There is no point in printing tons of pages. Hows the boss expecting to follow a method definition? Or view how many times the method/variable are referenced? I cant imagine doing a peer review without some basic find/navigation tools. I would print just some crucial points that i couldnt understand – Gilney Jan 22 '13 at 10:55

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