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C Style: Standards and Guidelines (contents)

CHAPTER 1 : Standards

PART 1 : BASICS

CHAPTER 1 : Standards

1.1 Standards
1.2 Guidelines
1.3 What are standards for?
1.4 What are coding standards for?
1.5 Who are coding standards for?
1.6 Coding standards vs. programming standards
1.7 Using this book

1.8 Summary

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1.3 What are standards for?

So what is the purpose of using standards? Consider a factory which manufactures an arbitrary product, called a 'widget'. Suppose that every screw in the widget is different, that it largely consists of specially made parts, and that it is mounted in a box which requires special tools to open it. The design was probably quite easy, as the designer just used what he liked. Manufacturing is somewhat chaotic, although the final testing ensures that most defective widgets are found before the product is released. However, the real troubles start after the widget is sold: the untried parts sometimes break, and widgets are awkward to disassemble, difficult to fix and are almost impossible to get new parts for. The maintenance engineers really hate widgets. It also means that the company has to spend much of its profits on running a large service department.

The alternative is to design the widget for reliability, manufacturability and maintainability from the beginning. This means using a limited set of standard components. Special components are only used when nothing else will do. It also means defining a standard process for design and build. This makes both manufacturing and maintenance easier; it also means that the product will be of a consistent quality.

 

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