Imagine for a moment what the arena of application development would look like if no standards existed by developers needed to keep.
It would be like all the people in the room suddenly had to communicate, and yet share no understanding of what is being said, among them.
Coding conventions exist to level the playing field of understanding.
Many developers have discovered that by utilizing tools like Amplication, for example, industry-standard code can automatically be generated while applying the organization’s specific flavour of coding conventions.
This way the application of best coding practices is automated and standardized.
What is Meant by Coding Conventions
Although many Coding conventions are universal across the multitude of available development languages, other languages have Coding Conventions that are unique to them.
An example of this is the difference between the variable naming standards of the .NET languages such as C#, and Objective-C, for example.
The C# convention is to utilize CamelCase for variable names where the first letter of each qualifier of the variable name is capitalized.
By contrast, Objective-C utilizes a convention called lower Camel Case where the first qualifier of a variable name starts with a lowercase letter.
What are the Benefits of Utilizing Coding Conventions?
Having a clear set of Coding Conventions greatly increases both the efficiency of developers and the quality of the product they deliver.
It, furthermore, reduces the time spent on development since developers are not spending hours trying to understand what a colleague built.
It also cuts down on the time required to debug erroneous code, saving time and money.
In teams that collaborate across language barriers, especially developers contributing towards Open-Source communities.
Some Healthy Coding Conventions
Highly selective use of global variables
Excessive use of global variables has a vastly counterproductive outcome on applications.
They essentially contaminate the global namespace. Because global variables can be modified from anywhere in the application, tracking down bugs relating to it can become an impossible task.
Code Header Standards for Modules
Code headers are created and treated like introduction sections to code, especially when large teams of developers need to collaborate.
Code headers typically need to include the following information:
- Name of the code module.
- The date on which the module was created.
- The name of the developer or development team who created the module of code.
- Version History. Each time a modification is made to the code the header needs to be updated accordingly.
- Explanation of exactly what the code’s function is.
Strongly Avoiding the Practice of Copying Code
Although it, might seem trivial, the practice of copying code could introduce multiple bugs into code that was working correctly before the code was “Borrowed”.
Additionally, junior developers might not have a clear understanding of what it is that they are copying and could introduce security vulnerabilities into the software.
Especially when copied from online sources.
Variable Naming Conventions
Development teams cooperating on software projects all need to utilize the same variable naming convention.
The reason for this is not only code readability but also consistency across an entire project.
Code Indentation and Whitespace
Although code indentation helps with the readability of code, some languages, like Python.
For example, require indentation as it has a functional purpose other than readability.
Whitespace is also useful when trying to isolate a section of code to make it more readable for a fellow developer.
Exception Handling Practices
Organizations can decide how their software will deal with exceptions. The fact is, however, that it is an industry-standard to build exception handling into software at each failure point.
This enables software to be stable and dependable.
Having Clear Guidelines Regarding Overloading
The use of having multiple functions with the same name in the same scope is commonly employed in languages.
These functions are referred to as overloaded functions or overloads.
With this, you can assign various meanings to your function based on the kind and amount of arguments passed.
Efficient development teams utilize tools that aid them to produce code at a specific, industry-specific, standard.
Whether the developer is a junior or a seasoned veteran. Coding Conventions are here to stay and are an industry best practice.