What Makes Good Code Good?

The Logos software development team has a large set of coding guidelines that have evolved over the years. We record them all on an internal wiki, each in its own article. The scope of each guideline varies widely; some guidelines give broad advice, and others indicate a particular coding style for a particular language.

Why do we have coding guidelines? To encourage the writing of good code. But what is good code? My favorite description of good code can be found in an MSDN Magazine article by the late Paul DiLascia. In his End Bracket article titled “What Makes Good Code Good?” he explains that “all good programming exhibits the same time-honored qualities: simplicity, readability, modularity, layering, design, efficiency, elegance, and clarity.” Be sure to read the entire article.

One page of our wiki, “Future Coding Guidelines,” is where we put guidelines that haven’t yet been given their own article. We have far too many “future” guidelines, and I hope to formalize more of them in the near future. Perhaps some of my favorites will show up on this blog as well.

Posted by Ed Ball on February 18, 2010