Coding Standards

Every project has a development standard

Sometimes the standard is “if it was hard to write, it should be hard to maintain.”

Developing, and following, a corporate Best Practices standard will lead to continuity, maintainability, robustness, and pride.

Coding standards are similar to writing in accordance with APA or MLA. It allows people to focus on content, not formatting.

This information is part of a larger presentation. The original presentation was at the Houston TechFest during the September 2016 event. Please consider adding this to your user group!
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Wars have been fought … Lives have been lost

Coding Standards Make Software:

  • Safe
    can be used without causing harm
  • Secure
    can’t be hacked
  • Reliable
    functions as it should, every time
  • Testable
    can be tested at the code level
  • Maintainable
    can be maintained, even as your codebase grows
  • Portable
    works the same in every environment

Coding Standards Make Products:

  • Compliant
    with industry standards
  • Consistent
    with corporate products and offerings
  • Secure
    from the start
  • Economic
    to developed
  • Accelerated
    time to market

Coding Standards ARE:

  • A set of guidelines
    • for a specific programming language
    • for programming styles, practices, and methods
    • for software structural quality
  • Applicable to the human maintainers and peer reviewers
  • May [should] be formalized and followed by an entire team or company

Coding Standards Address:

  • file organization
  • indentation
  • comments
  • declarations
  • statements
  • white space
  • naming conventions
  • programming practices
  • programming principles
  • programming rules of thumb
  • architectural best practices, etc.

Coding Standards: Code Stability and Robustness:

  • Top 15 Best Practices
    1. Commenting & Documentation
    2. Consistent Indentation
    3. Avoid Obvious Comments
    4. Code Grouping
    5. Consistent Naming Scheme
    6. SOLID / DRY / YAGNI Principles
    7. Avoid Deep Nesting
    8. Limit Line Length
    9. File and Folder Organization
    10. Consistent Temporary Names
    11. Capitalize SQL Special Words
    12. Separation of Code and Data
    13. Alternate Syntax Inside Templates
    14. Object Oriented vs. Procedural
    15. Read Open Source Code

Fundamental Principals:

    • Single-responsibility Principle
    • Open-closed Principle
    • Liskov substitution principle
    • Interface segregation principle
    • Dependency Inversion principle
  • DRY
    • Don’t Repeat Yourself
    • Ya Ain’t Gonna Need It

Common Design Patterns:

  • Singleton
  • Factory
  • Iterator
  • Abstract
  • CQRS
  • IOC / DI

Best Practices Become Agile Software Programming:

  • Test-first programming (or perhaps Test-Driven Development),
  • Rigorous, regular refactoring,
  • Continuous integration,
  • Simple design,
  • Pair programming,
  • Sharing the codebase between all or most programmers,
  • A single coding standard to which all programmers adhere,
  • A common “war-room” style work area. (no consensus)

Naming Convention:

  • Examples:
    • Trace a variable from source to grave
    • Column in database: Flymm_Flam
    • Property in ORM class: Flymm_Flam ( or FlymmFlam ? )
    • Represented a local variable: flymmFlam
    • Class-Private field: _flymmFlam
    • Constant: FLYMM_FLAM ( avoid constants )
    • Controls: btnFlymmFlam ( no consensus )
    • Method parameter: flymmFlam

    Guidelines to Live By:

    • DO NOT use single letter variable – spell out the purpose
    • Be environment aware – DO NOT use reserved words
    • Avoid abbreviations
      • Use lastName, not nam
      • Unless they are well known like Xml, Html or IO
    • DO NOT vary variables by case! (C#)


  • Refactor for code reuse, low cyclomatic complexity values
  • If you can’t see your code on one screen in the editor, then it’s probably too long!
  • Keep generics in mind
  • There are two kinds of programmers:
    • Complexifiers are averse to reduction
    • Simplifiers thrive on concision
  • If your method, class etc. seems huge or overly complicated, then you are most likely doing it wrong!
    • Refactor!
    • Ask a follow programmer!
    • Pair programming!
    • Code review!

Reference Information: