Keeping the right Coding Standards

Quality Assurance Coding Standards

As we shown in our previous post about maximizing quality of IT departments, things written down will be helpful when IT team grows.

Article will go into details of keeping your company’s coding standards at the peak. To ease the task we’ve also included sample coding standard rules.

Written down standards for development help to provide better quality of the code, especially when your team grows and it’s impossible to control everything by one senior employee.

The benefits

Introduction of coding standards and best practices goes with many advantages:

  • Entry of a new person to the project will be easier – code of all developers will be structured equally or similar
  • High quality of the code (formating, structure) will help reduce bugs – they’ll be easier noticeable
  • Thanks to written down best practices they’ll make repetitive tasks faster

Involve your developers

In the introduction of standards and best practices, developers should be involved – they write code and know what is useful. Additionally you should suggest your own proposals but it should always come with explanation what are the benefits of using them:

  • What’s the purpose of standardization?
  • How it improves the development process?
  • …How it makes their development easier and faster?

Also don’t introduce everything as it goes – you should personalize development guidelines for your company’s needs. For example, we avoid keeping pressure on writing comments for every class or method as we think that readable code is self documenting. Only complex functions with heavier logic should come with appropriate comment describing the purpose of the code.

The coding standards should be collected continuously and written in your company’s knowledge base. It’ll be the role of all of the developers to continuously expand the best practices list.

Follow industry standards

CISQ

CISQ

Problems concerned with lack of software quality have been already noticed by leaders of IT.

Consortium for IT Software Quality set consistent framework for maintaining the highest quality of software. Their work is now a de facto industry standard. It includes rules concerned with following characteristics:

  • Reliability
  • Performance Efficiency
  • Security
  • Maintainability

Based on the CISQ work, you can develop ruleset for your own IT department.

Sample coding standards list

  • Coding standards
    • Code naming – where to use camelCase or under_score conventions
    • Writing code in english – not using native language for defining methods, classes etc.
    • Structure of the code – e.g. always use 4-spaces instead of tab
    • Writing comments – always write comments to complex functions
  • Naming standards
    • URL paths naming – URLs of applications should have structure site.com/module/controller/action
    • Database naming – entities attributes should be named using under_score notation
  • Best practices
    • Database – avoid usage of MySQL functions like DATE(), SUM(), COUNT(), use aggregation columns instead
    • Integrations with webservices – log API requests using adequate logging verbosity – INFO for request content, ERROR for webservice errors etc.
    • Batch processing – allow to make parametrized run of CLI commands

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Antoni is a Software Architect and Scrum Master at Octivi. He is responsible for software architecture of our key projects, he also holds Professional Scrum Master certificate.