Technology

Coding Standards are Created for a Reason

by
on
9/22/2021
Coding Standards are Created for a Reason

Writing code takes time and effort to do well, and there are coding standards and conventions in place to keep code clean and well-structured. They are even more important if code is being written by a team – each member should have clear guidelines and rules that help them ensure their work is not only reliable, but maintainable and maintained. 

And yet, so many developers enjoy the freedom that comes with ignoring coding standards – so are these standards really necessary?

The short answer is yes, but let’s delve deeper into why. 


Why coding standards exist

Coding standards refer to a set of guidelines and rules that chart the course for the style, procedures, and methods of a programming language. 

While the words rules, guidelines, standards, and conventions sound boring and stiff, their main objectives are to ensure that software will be:

  • Secure – it shouldn’t be hackable
  • Safe – it shouldn’t cause harm 
  • Reliable – it should function as it’s intended, every time it’s used
  • Testable – it should be testable at code level
  • Maintanable – it should be maintainable, even when the codebase expands
  • Portable – it should work the same in every environment.


Some common coding standard aspects are:

  • File and folder naming and organization
  • Naming conventions
  • Commenting and documenting
  • Formatting and indentation
  • Classes and functions
  • testing


The importance of coding standards

Coding standards might seem like an extra headache, but they can actually benefit developers in the following ways:

  1. Teams can integrate well

Coding standards help ensure that everyone is on the same page. Work can be shared and read easily by the whole team, as well as cleaned up and improved. 


  1. Code quality and maintainability are increased 

It’s incredibly rare for software to be supported by its original author. With standards in place, software readability is greatly increased. Developers can understand code that’s new to them far better and faster.

  1. In a huge project, certain classes and files will be far easier to find. 


While coding standards make life easier for developers, coding standards should also be used because of the following:

  1. Industry standards compliance (ISO)

Coding standards, especially functional safety standards, are required (or at least very highly recommended) for compliance in embedded systems industries. 

Some examples include:

  • IEC 61508: “Functional safety of electrical/electronic/programmable electronic safety-related systems”
  • EN 50128: “Railway applications — Communication, signaling, and processing systems — Software for railway control and protection systems”
  • IEC 62061: "Safety of machinery: Functional safety of electrical, electronic and programmable electronic control systems"
  • ISO 26262: “Road vehicles — functional safety”

  1. Software security

One of the main priorities of coding standards is security, so developers adhering to these standards will always have security as a goal by default when they are coding. The resulting software will be secure, as it has been from its creation. 


  1. Consistent code quality

Code quality might vary from developer to developer, but coding standards stop this variation from reaching astounding or even dangerous levels. 


  1. Less development costs + less time to market

When developers aren’t wasting time being confused over what is going on in each other’s code and getting lost in their own work, the product can spend less time in the development stage and get to the market stage much faster. 



What would happen without coding standards

Without coding standards, teams of developers can expect:

  • Reduced motivation because their work is difficult and takes a long time 
  • Increased development time (and therefore costs)
  • Complex and often frustrating codebase structure
  • Annoyance with team members when misunderstandings come up
  • Future readers of the code will either find the code difficult or impossible to read and understand
  • Possible issues with the software’s performance, such as server response issues, software interaction, etc. 
  • Difficulty locating and correcting bugs.


Yes, we hear you, ‘freedom loving’ developers, who don’t want to know about the standards or anything like that. And here is what we must tell you - these standards are created for a purpose, they ensure that the product is reliable and consistently maintained. They assist knowledge transfer, allowing any developers who get on the codebase to understand what’s going on. 

At NerdCloud, we strictly adhere to industry standards because we prioritize safety, efficiency, consistency, and above all, quality.