A good coding style in software engineering indicates the guidelines or conventions the developers follow while writing code. It aims to enhance its efficiency, readability, and maintainability in software development. What else does it entail? The following guide will tell you about the best guidelines and practices in coding and much more.

Good coding style in software engineering is one of the major components of successful projects. It involves certain standards or practices that the developers should follow. But what exactly are these practices? They are guidelines that assist developers in writing clean code. Are you aware that developers dedicate almost 3.8 hours correcting the bad code?

Yes, that’s odd, but right! Thus, good code can be defined as clean, simple, bug-free, tested, and without documentation. It must also be refactored and performant. The reason? There could be a large variance in coding standards between two developers upon observing similar software. So, let us get deeper into the world of the good coding style in software engineering.

What does a coding style in software engineering entail?

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A good coding style in software engineering is one built to last for a long time. It is the art of programming that makes a complex task into readable code. In addition, it helps to simplify the software maintenance as well. As a result, it comprises the following features: 

  • Good code is one that self-defines. Hence, it should not include any comments. But just in case there are comments that need explanation, they should be added to the code.
  • There is no need to be clever with code. However, it is always better to write more efficient code that can be used in order to do things in an obvious and straightforward manner.
  • Code should be organized into small units (classes/methods/functions) that do one thing and are used throughout the code.
  • In the shortest time possible, one must comfortably read and comprehend a good code with cognitive ease. 
  • Coding and testing go hand in hand. Hence, a good code must be well-tested. It should emphasize more on how functional code should be used and not how it shouldn’t be.

But have you ever thought about what coding standards in software engineering are involved to ensure a good coding style? Let us discuss that below. But first, let us get clarity about the coding standards.

What are coding standards in software development?

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Coding standards describe the characteristics of code that allow the retention of a single codebase and make it easier for developers to cooperate. Hence, here are the top coding guidelines in software engineering that you can follow to improve your code quality, performance, and readability: 

  • Naming Conventions

A good coding style in software engineering is the first thing that you should consider. Therefore, programmers should use naming for their variables, functions, classes, and other code objects in order to achieve the highest efficiency and improve the visibility of their code. The names of variables or functions must be in the same case styles.

  • Identification and Formatting

By identifying and formatting the code, the code is easier to read and better organized. Programmers can actually convert the code into a table form, which is more legible. Some different formats are line breaks, pieces of code with indents, and other elements. For that, it is better to use tools for code formatting like Crucible, SonarQube, etc.

  • Modularity and Reusability

For a given process, clean and efficient code is achieved by turning an independent code into functions or classes. As a result, programmers can also save much time and work if the same code is used several times. For example, many mathematical problems can be handled by one single function written by programmers.

  • Code Readability

These readability guidelines within a good coding style in software engineering ensure easier readability and understandability of code. Therefore, it is the most feasible alternative to improve the readability and understandability of the software code for other developers on a team. 

  • Version Control and Code Review

To this end, a version control system like GitHub keeps track of code changes and provides users with an overview of the evolution while facilitating discussion about the source code in various coding communities among developers. As a result, it makes the code more efficient, leading to high-quality overall code.

What are the best practices to ensure good code quality?

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The implementation process of coding standards is an extremely subjective endeavor that should be adapted to the features and characteristics of your team. Some coding best practices in software development, however, can help you get on track and ensure the most from your adopted coding standards.

  • Do Proper Documentation

Including comments in your code helps other programmers to understand your work. Therefore, when you have established a good coding style in software engineering, describe the function of every class, file, and nested code.

  • Avoid Over-Commenting

Leaving remarks for improvement is a good coding practice. However, do not make too many comments explaining what an obvious functionality does. This is due to the fact that this malpractice makes your code appear messy, unappealing, and amateurish.

  • Avoid Code Duplicacy

Programming should follow the DRY rule (Don’t Repeat Yourself). Please write your own program and don’t just carelessly copy the code. Also, as a programmer, ensure the code enhances efficiency and is made crisp, pointed, and original.

  • Organize Files Systematically

You can store your code in one file, which is a good coding style in software engineering. However, due to the readability aspect, it is best to opt for a modular way of coding by separating files from each other and keeping them well-arranged.

  • Practice Grouping Your Code

Improved code readability often includes grouping code within methods and separating them with appropriate spaces. Based on our observations, one case in which over-commenting is reduced includes a short informative comment at the start of each block.

Finally, keep in mind that no matter how thoroughly you follow the above-mentioned coding best practices, all code must be extensively tested on real browsers and devices.

Tools to analyze good coding style in software engineering

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Code quality tools are important whenever we talk about good coding style in software engineering. These tools look at the code and highlight any common issues that can result from the poor design of a program. Listed below are a few yet the best of them: 

BasisSonarQubeCodacyVeracodeCrucible
Best ForBest suited for teams tracking divergence from the coding standards.Highly suitable for freelance developers as well as large MNC corporations.It is ideal for teams seeking a single point of contact for application security code quality.Best tool for small to mid-sized teams for quick collaboration.
FeaturesIdentifies & highlights security vulnerabilities in the code.It integrates with source code tools, helps track code coverage, and supports 30+ coding languages.The tool is available in the form of scalable  SaaS models.Supports real-time notifications and adherence to coding standards.
ProsPromote reduced code maintenance and support multiple languages and IDE environments.It is easy to use. Also, it comes with an interactive UI dashboard for the developers.Provide customized scan reports, mobile versions, and CI/CD integrations.It supports inline discussions. Provides seamless integration with source code tools. 
PricingOffers a free version and $130,000 for 20 million lines of code.It comprises a free trial plan and a pro plan as well, ranging from $18 /user/month.Offers an on-demand pricing module.Free for open-source projects. But it costs $1100 / 10 users for large teams.

Conclusion

A good coding style in software engineering is a core practice that promotes uniformity, readability, and security. However, it is difficult to maintain coding standards across a project or team without the proper supporting tools and members. Therefore, it is highly advisable to seek the services of an experienced team of professionals in the development process optimization.

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