Coding standards, or coding conventions, are sets of rules or guidelines designed to govern the process of code production in a software project. They're usually based on industry best practices or generally accepted conventions. They include naming conventions, style, prohibited features, and more.

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Where did the notion of “one return only” come from?

I often talk to programmers who say "Don't put multiple return statements in the same method." When I ask them to tell me the reasons why, all I get is "The coding standard says so." or "It's ...
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Do I need to use an interface when only one class will ever implement it?

Isn't the whole point of an interface to for multiple classes to adhere to a set of rules and implementations?
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Self Documenting Code Vs. Commented Code

I had a search but didn't find what I was looking for, please feel free to link me if this question has already being asked. Earlier this month this post was made: ...
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Why are cryptic short identifiers still so common in low-level programming?

There used to be very good reasons for keeping instruction / register names short. Those reasons no longer apply, but short cryptic names are still very common in low-level programming. Why is this? ...
85
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10answers
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Why do most of us use 'i' as a loop counter variable?

Has anyone thought about why so many of us repeat this same pattern using the same variable names? for (int i = 0; i < foo; i++) { // ... } It seems most code I've ever looked at uses i, j, ...
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Should I use switch statements or long if…else chains?

Often when I hear about the switch statement, its put off as a way to replace long if...else chains. But it seems that when I use the switch statement I'm writing more code that I would be just ...
31
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3answers
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if ('constant' == $variable) vs. if ($variable == 'constant')

Lately, I've been working a lot in PHP and specifically within the WordPress framework. I'm noticing a lot of code in the form of: if ( 1 == $options['postlink'] ) Where I would have expected to ...
82
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16answers
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Is it wrong to use a boolean parameter to determine behavior?

I have seen a practice from time to time that "feels" wrong, but I can't quite articulate what is wrong about it. Or maybe it's just my prejudice. Here goes: A developer defines a method with a ...
29
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16answers
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What parts of your coding standard contribute to quality code? [duplicate]

In response to This Question, I ask: What are the best parts of your coding standard? What are the best practices that help with code quality, reliability, maintainability, readability, etc. ...
10
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4answers
656 views

Are there any actual drawbacks to self-referential method chaining?

I recently suggested a method of chaining be implemented for a certain class in a certain project so readability of the code could be improved. I got a "fluent interfaces should not be implemented ...
85
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16answers
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What is the benefit of not using Hungarian notation?

One of the things I struggle with is not using Hungarian notation. I don't want to have to go to the variable definition just to see what type it is. When a project gets extensive, it's nice to be ...
58
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20answers
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Using single characters for variable names in loops/exceptions [duplicate]

I've had a couple of discussions with a co-worker about the use of single letter variable names in certain circumstances inside our codebase, at which we both disagree. He favours more verbose naming ...
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10answers
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Does your company have a coding standard? [on hold]

I recently saw that Microsoft released a coding standards document (All-In-One Code Framework Coding Standards) and it got me thinking... The company that I work for has no formal coding standards at ...
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1answer
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Database Application Design Best Practices [duplicate]

Once upon a time it was common practice for both the business logic and database logic to be written in the same language (eg PL/SQL, Transact SQL, etc), more recently the practice is to separate the ...
16
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8answers
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What is the appeal of Systems Hungarian? [closed]

In What naming guidelines do you follow?, the author says: Also I prefer to code using hungarian notation from Charles Simonyi. I've run in to several programmers who still prefer to use ...
386
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9answers
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Why is 80 characters the 'standard' limit for code width?

Why is 80 characters the "standard" limit for code width? Why 80 and not 79, 81 or 100? What is the origin of this particular value?
51
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6answers
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Method vs Function vs Procedure

Simple question, but I often hear these three terms defined with such ferocity, but which have been known to me to mean different things over the years. What are the "correct" definitions of ...
56
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7answers
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Excessive use “final” keyword in Java [duplicate]

While I understand what the final keyword is used for in the context of classes and methods as well as the intent of its use for in regards to variables; however, the project I just started working on ...
69
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12answers
4k views

Is there a point to including a “change log” in every code file when you are using version control?

I was under the impression that a version control system eliminated the need to have "change logs" plastered everywhere in the code. I've often seen the continued use of change logs, including big ...
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4answers
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Where is this from (originally)?: “80% of the lifetime cost of a piece of software goes to maintenance” [closed]

In the Sun Java coding conventions document (here: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/codeconv-138413.html), it states: "80% of the lifetime cost of a piece of software goes to maintenance" Does ...
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7answers
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In C and C++, what methods can prevent accidental use of the assignment(=) where equivalence(==) is needed?

In C and C++, it is very easy to write the following code with a serious error. char responseChar = getchar(); int confirmExit = 'y' == tolower(responseChar); if (confirmExit = 1) { exit(0); } ...
3
votes
2answers
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Collaborative work (small team) - Best practices [closed]

I'm currently working in a very small team of programmers (2-3) and I'm looking for advices/best practices on how to organise our work. We're all working on the same application using PHP. Today we're ...
3
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4answers
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Coding convention regarding the usage of underscores [closed]

There seems to be divided opinion on this subject, and I wanted to get people's insights on whether they've found using underscore prefixes and suffixes to be helpful with coding or not. You know, ...
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3answers
347 views

Why should a HashMap be used(in functions) to determine which value to return(for a key) when an if else construct can do the job in better time?

While I was recently working at a big company, I noticed that the programmers there followed this coding style: Suppose I have a function that returns 12 if the input is A, 21 if the input is B, and ...
64
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16answers
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Recommendations for teaching junior programmers good coding style [duplicate]

I am a big fan of good coding style, producing clean, clear code that runs well and is easy to use and integrate into larger systems. I believe that we programmers are essentially craftspeople who ...
33
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6answers
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Naming classes, methods, functions and variables [duplicate]

There are 3 important naming conventions: with_underscores PascalCased camelCased Other variants are not important because they are not commonly used. For variables it seems that the one with ...
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18answers
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Can a function be too short?

Whenever I find myself writing the same logic more than once, I usually stick it in a function so there is only one place in my application I have to maintain that logic. A side effect is that I ...
81
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20answers
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How important is it to reduce the number of lines in code?

I am a Software developer who works on J2SE (core java). Often during our code reviews we are asked to reduce the number of lines in our code. It's not about removing redundant code, it's about ...
39
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13answers
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Handling Coding Standards at Work (I'm not the boss)

I work on a small team, around 10 devs. We have no coding standards at all. There are certain things that have become the norm but some ways of doing things are completely disparate. My big one is ...
22
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18answers
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What should be the maximum length of a function? [closed]

What should be the maximum length of a function? And are there cases which are an exception to this?
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7answers
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Avoid too complex method - Cyclomatic Complexity

Not sure how to go about this method to reduce Cyclomatic Complexity. Sonar reports 13 whereas 10 is expected. I am sure nothing harm in leaving this method as it is, however, just challenging me how ...
32
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13answers
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Do you prefix variable names with an abbreviation of the variable types? (Hungarian Notation) [closed]

In my current job, there are no coding guidelines. Everyone pretty much codes the way he wants. Which is fine, since the company is small. However, one new guy recently proposed to always use ...
20
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5answers
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What good reasons are there to capitalise SQL keywords?

There seem to be a lot of developers who write their SQL by capitalising the keywords: SELECT column FROM table INNER JOIN table ON condition WHERE condition GROUP BY clause HAVING ...
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8answers
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Are 'edited by' inline comments the norm in shops which use revision control?

The senior dev in our shop insists that whenever code is modified, the programmer responsible should add an inline comment stating what he did. These comments usually look like // YYYY-MM-DD <User ...
27
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10answers
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Eliminating Magic Numbers: When is it time to say “No”?

We're all aware that magic numbers (hard-coded values) can wreak havoc in your program, especially when it's time to modify a section of code that has no comments, but where do you draw the line? ...
3
votes
4answers
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Usage of magic strings/numbers [closed]

This is somewhat controversial topic, and I guess there is as many opinions as there are programmers. But for the sake of it, I want to know what are the common practices in business (or in your work ...
12
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5answers
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Can there be too much uniformity in coding standards?

Is there such a thing as too much uniformity? Where I work we of course have standards including naming conventions, architectures, frameworks to leverage etc. However lately there has been a lot of ...
11
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3answers
2k views

What package name to choose for a small, open-source Java project? [closed]

I'd like to publish a small open-source library in Java. I wonder what package name should I choose? I'm not a company and I don't have a domain that I could use as the basis for naming the package ...
7
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2answers
130 views

What do you do when working with multiple languages with different capitalization schemes?

I'm making a webapp using Django. The Python convention for naming variables is lowercase_with_underscores, but the Javascript convention is camelCase. In addition, I've seen many people use ...
5
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2answers
1k views

Java naming conventions vs. C++/C naming conventions

I am a Java developer who is starting to pick up more and more C++/C (yes I know they're different, bear with me). One thing that struck me as odd was the different naming conventions used by these ...
17
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15answers
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I hate one of our coding standards and it drives me insane, how to process it? [closed]

Disclaimer: Not as exaggerated as the title suggests, but it still makes me uncomfortable. I'm just going to express honestly, so take it with a grain of salt. Just pretend that I'm talking about that ...
4
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4answers
531 views

Hungarian Notations/Systems Hungarian Should I? [closed]

I was wondering would it be worth using a form of standard such as Hungarian Notation/Systems Hungarian? Why would I bother if everything I'm doing now is working fine?
118
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12answers
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Why does Uncle Bob suggest that coding standards shouldn't be written down if you can avoid it?

While I was reading this question, the top voted answer quoted Uncle Bob on coding standards, but I was confused by this tip: Don't write them down if you can avoid it. Rather, let the code be ...
75
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8answers
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Is it okay to not completely understand code functionality? [duplicate]

As I am currently struggling with learning WCF for a project at work, for the past several days I have been looking at online tutorials and examples on the best way to make a WCF client; and today, ...
52
votes
17answers
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Working on someone else's code

I have hardly a year's experience in coding. After I started working, most of the time I would be working on someone else's code, either adding new features over the existing ones or modifying the ...
59
votes
13answers
7k views

Is it reasonable to null guard every single dereferenced pointer?

At a new job, I've been getting flagged in code reviews for code like this: PowerManager::PowerManager(IMsgSender* msgSender) : msgSender_(msgSender) { } void PowerManager::SignalShutdown() { ...
41
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8answers
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When is it appropriate to make a separate function when there will only ever be a single call to said function? [duplicate]

We are designing coding standards, and are having disagreements as to if it is ever appropriate to break code out into separate functions within a class, when those functions will only ever be called ...
17
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Unit test coding standards

Usually when talking about coding standards we refer to the code of the program itself, but what about the unit tests? Are there certain coding standards guidelines that are unique to unit tests? What ...
15
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8answers
1k views

How to convince my boss to improve code quality? [duplicate]

The place I'm working for is a service provider. We have a lot of services, which are written to deal with deadline, so their code are really terrible: No coding convention, everyone codes in his ...
40
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9answers
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What does XXX mean in a comment? [closed]

What do people generally mean whenever you see XXX in a comment. Occasionally, I'll see a comment like this: # XXX - This widget really should frobulate the whatsit Of course, I can tell what the ...