Java Coding Standards

naming - documentation - formatting - rules

The most important thing of standards is being consequent, always using the same choices of naming, code structure, etc.  Your code will be easier to understand and to write, you will easier remember variable, type and procedure names. This, together with structured programming techniques makes documentation only necessary for special non-obvious things in your code.

Naming Conventions

final int A_GLOBAL_CONSTANT= 5;             // Constants

class NameOneTwo                          // Classes

int mVarAbc;                              // Class Attributes: start with 'm'

static StatusInfo sStatus;                // Static Variables: start with 's'
int handleError(int errorNumber)  	 // Methods & Method Arguments
    Time time_of_error;                   // Local Variables


  • Names should make clear what they represent, it is half of your documentation, don't be afraid to make them long
  • Use the following standard abbreviations, for instance as a suffix:
  • Prefixes can be useful for method names:
  • Create standard abbreviations for your project, for word & concepts you will use a lot

  • Documentation

    Besides the standard diagrams like the Nassi Schneider algorithm and the UML class diagram, put all documentation in the code. With a clear structure and good naming of variables and procedures, not much extra explanation is necessary.  eg PROCEDURE NbrItemsChosen() : don't add redundant documentation like " this procedure returns the number of Items chosen!" Explain only special, non-obvious unexpected things. Furthermore, your program should be userfriendly, so keep it simple. 

    Comment policy:

  • explanation of class (terminology, functions, reasons, ...)
  • In implementation: comment only where necessary!! Special non-obvious things.
  • Comments should document decisions
  • Formatting

  • Put a space in between '=',  '==', all operators and after comma's!
  • Indentation Policy:  
  •  switch (...){                        // Switch Format
          case 1:
          // FALL THROUGH

          case 2:{        
             int v;

     int SomeMethod(){
           if (condition){                 // Braces {} Polic       
           while (6 == errorNum){          // Condition Format


    Only Initialize Variables when Necessary

    Use Short Methods

    Only one Statement Per Line

    Usually Avoid Embedded/Complicated Assignments

  •     eg: while ((c = getchar()) != EOF)   or  i = j++;