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C Style: Standards and Guidelines (contents)

CHAPTER 1 : Standards


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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1.7 Using this book

This book does not tell you precisely what is good style and what is not good style. If only it was that easy! Some style points are clearly good or bad, but others are judgement calls, where there are reasonable arguments for two or more alternatives and no clear winner. It would be foolish to pretend that there is only 'one way' to write good code. In these cases the book offers the known arguments for and against, and leaves you to choose. Thus, it is quite reasonable to specify a standard to do things 'your way', just as long as this will not cause problems to other readers.

If you really cannot choose, or just want a set of standards off the shelf, then Appendix B offers a completely biassed set.

The actual need for coding standards and guidelines will vary with each situation. In a large programming team, where the staff turnover is high and the final product is critical and complex, and will require significant maintenance, then detailed standards will probably be needed. Conversely, in a simple small project, with stable staffing, then a few general guidelines are will probably suffice (although large and complex systems often grow from small and simple programs).

If you are using this book to help define a set of coding standards within an organization, then take a diversion now to chapter 11, which offers suggestions on how this task may be performed successfully.


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