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Practise safe coding rules

Posted: 28 Jul 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:coding rules  software  language misuse 

The topic of coding standards is an emotive one among software developers, whose divergent opinions raise questions that range from "Why do we need such restrictions?" to "How could we possibly operate without them?"

Software engineering has always wrestled with standards, and the development of the C and C++ languages brought the issue into even sharper focus. These flexible and powerful languages are now deeply rooted in industrial and embedded environments. In the past decade, developers have accepted the need to control and restrict these languages for industrial, commercial or other safety-conscious purposes.

Many of the early attempts to define coding standards focused on style rather than safety and reliability. However, recent collective efforts such as the Motor Industry Software Reliability Association C and C++ guidelines target bug detection, avoidance and prevention.

The primary intent behind these modern coding standards is to prevent software misbehaviour. Software languages generally contain features that are rich beyond the needs of most software practitioners. Developers are not expected to be experts in the full-language feature set, and coding rules help protect them from language danger or misuse.

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