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Android source code and many Android open-source apps and libs use m prefix for member fields and s prefix for static member fields:

private static boolean sStarted;
private long mTimestamp;

I personally dislike this, because it looks ugly and it's redundant – my IDE already uses different color and formatting for local, member and static member variables.

What's closest to truth?

  1. It's a good practice.
  2. It's a bad practice but you should use it anyway in order to be consistent with the majority of Android code out there.
  3. It's a bad practice and you shouldn't use it.
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Good question. I had to do a fair bit of Android development lately and I too wondered why Java development was going quasi-Hungarian. –  JohnMark13 Sep 6 '13 at 20:41
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The naming convention you described is very much like (if not the same as) system hungarian notation. There has been a lot of discussion about it here (Struggling not to use Hungarian notation), and obviously it is redundant.

Thus the answer to your first question, No, it isn't a good practice.

The second question is a little harder. In case you work on an existing code-base with that convention, its better to keep using it.

I personally wouldn't use this convention when creating something from scratch, even if I use libraries with that very convention. That practice is really redundant and you gain nothing from it taking into account the capabilites of IDE-s. I would instead keep consistent and accurate names in my own application, which would make it clear enough.

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But, any idea why they did it? I went to the Android developers site, opened the first article and bam, it uses it. Like you say I just don't do it, but I find it odd. android-developers.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/… . I see you opted for the Reverse Hungarian! –  JohnMark13 Sep 6 '13 at 21:36
    
Note this is not full blown Hungarian Notation, it only distinguishes fields by its kind. I imagine it may be useful in constructors and setters (mFoo = foo; rather than this.foo = foo;). It also makes you less reliant on semantic coloring which not every color theme/IDE offers. –  Xion Sep 7 '13 at 8:13
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The font changes provided by IDE's are more subtle than this convention and so easier to miss. Additionally not all programming is done in IDE's. Therefore I think it's an overstatement to say that the convention is redundant flat-out. I suspect these are the reasons that the Android team has used this naming convention. –  MikeFHay Sep 7 '13 at 14:52
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