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C Style: Standards and Guidelines (contents)

CHAPTER 11 : Implementing Standards


CHAPTER 11 : Implementing Standards
11.1 Raising awareness of the need for standards
11.2 'Disadvantages' of coding standards
11.3 Getting the standards defined
11.4 What should the standards contain?
11.5 Getting the standards into use
11.6 Prove the value
11.7 Keeping the standards alive
11.8 Making sure the standards are used
11.9 Summary

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11.1  Raising awareness of the need for standards

The first step towards implementing standards is to persuade people that there is a need for standards. As most programmers disagree at least in part with most other programmers' programming style, this is fairly easy.

A good method of dealing with disagreement at this stage is to have a public meeting about the need for standards. Care must be taken at this meeting not to talk about the actual detail of the standards - if you do, the meeting will soon deteriorate into chaos, and nothing will get decided.


The outcome of the meeting should be:

  • Agreement that coding standards should be defined.
  • An assurance that all will be able to review the standards, and that all views will be considered.
  • Some indication of how the standards are to be defined.

There may well be a minority who vociferously object to the setting up of any standards (these 'real programmers' are also liable to scorn such a meeting, and just not attend). In any case, once there is a majority in agreement with the principle of coding standards, peer pressure is a very persuasive tool to bring the last few into line.


It is a good idea to canvas a few key people beforehand to ensure that they will be on your side from the beginning. Then you can, as a group, gradually haul everyone else on board.


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