C/C++ Programming Style Guidelines
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03-01-2011, 10:50 AM

Fred Richards

.pdf   C & C++ Programming Style Guidlines.pdf (Size: 167.33 KB / Downloads: 54)


This document contains the guidelines for writing C/C++ code for Dynamic Software Solutions. The point of a style guide is to greater uniformity in the appearance of source code. The benefit is enhanced readability and hence maintainability for the code. Wherever possible, we adopt stylistic conventions that have been proved to contribute positively to readability and/or maintainability. Before code can be considered for peer review the author must check that it adheres to these guidelines. This may be considered a prerequisite for the review process. A checklist is provided at the end of this document to aid in validating the source code’s style. Where code fails to adhere to the conventions prescribed here may be considered a defect during the review process.
If you have not already, please study Code Complete by Steve McConnell. This book provides a detailed discussion on all things related to building software systems. It also includes references to statistical studies on many of the stylistic elements that affect program maintainability. Another valuable source of solid programming practice tips is The Practice of Programming by Brian W. Kernighan and Rob Pike. Scott Meyers’ books, Effective C++ and More Effective C++ should be considered required reading for any C++ programmer.

And what person would be considered complete without having read The Elements of Style by Strunk and White?

File Contents

Use files to group functionality. Each file should contain only one cohesive set of functions. Avoid duplicating functionality in separate files. If different files contain similar functions, consider generalizing the function sufficiently and putting it into its own file so that both function groups can use the one source. For C++ code, put only one class or closely related set of classes in each file.
Avoid strong coupling between functions and classes implemented in separate files. If two objects are so strongly coupled that one can only be used in conjunction with the other then they belong in the same file.
Use header files (.h suffix) to declare public interfaces, use code files (.c, .cc or .cpp suffix) to define implementations. Typically each cohesive set of functions you write in a single file will have one accompanying header/interface file pair. Code that uses your implementation will #include the header file.

Be precise with #include statements. Explicitly include the .h files you require, and only where you require them. If, for example, your code calls a function defined externally, include that function’s associated .h in your implementation file not in your code’s associated .h file. You should only need to include other files in your .h file if your public function interface or data type definitions require the definitions contained therein.
Avoid using header files to contain a set of #include directives simply for convenience. This “nesting” of #include constructs obscures file dependencies from the reader. It also creates a coupling between modules including the top-level header file. Unless the modules are cohesively coupled functionally, and each requires all the .h files included in the convenience header, it is preferable to instead include all the individual .h files everywhere they are required.


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