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C Style: Standards and Guidelines (contents)

CHAPTER 6 : Code Layout


CHAPTER 6 : Code Layout
6.1 Basic principles of code layout
6.2 Use of Spaces
6.3 Use of blank lines
6.4 Use vertical alignment
6.5 Indentation level
6.6 Line wrapping
6.7 Braces
6.8 Use of parentheses
6.9 Nested single statement
6.10 Empty statements
6.11 'else..if'
6.12 'switch' statements
6.13 'do..while'
6.14 Labels
6.15 Data declarations
6.16 Function declaration
6.17 Preprocessor commands
6.18 Summary

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The most visible aspect of coding style is the way in which the code is laid out. It is a common subject of significant controversy amongst programmers, where individual layout styles are strongly defended. The difference of opinion is often due to the pattern-recognition characteristics of the mind, where a style even slightly different from your own somehow looks 'wrong' (see 2.1).

This level of individualism is often tolerated, as it does not appear to affect the actual code which is written. However, it can affect the readability of the code for a future reader, especially if he is trying to maintain a program written by several people, each using a different style.

This chapter considers the basic layout of code statements, focusing on the positioning of the fundamental elements of the language. It also strays into the realms of usage where changes in text do not change the basic meaning of the code (for example, use of parentheses in expressions).


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