A question of Style, was: SPUG: Sort an array question
bill at celestial.com
Sat Dec 28 11:46:34 CST 2002
On Fri, Dec 27, 2002 at 11:46:40AM -0800, Terry Nightingale wrote:
>I'm usually not very vocal on SPUG, but since the topic has turned to
>coding style, I'll chime in with my $0.02:
>When writing a short one-off system administration script, for example,
>feel free to use one-character variable names and obscure idioms in the
>name of getting something done as quickly as possible. Just be sure you
>recognize when code is truly "one-off", and not the foundation of a
I have a problem with this for two reasons. First it's amazing how many
times one-off programs end up used much more frequently than expected.
Second, I think it's important to build good programming habits (and I type
80+ words per minute :-).
As for the argument on index variables in tight loops, I tend to agree with
the folks who recommend, $i, $j, $k, etc. since that's the common
nomenclature used in mathematics.
On a historical note, I think this is why the original IBM FORTRAN
compilers had all integer variables starting with the letters [I-N] with
everything else being floating point (except for Bendix Radio's Mishewaka
FORTRAN where all variables were floating point, ``DO'' loops allowed
fractional increments, and ``DO'' loop tests were at the beginning not the
end as on IBM FORTRAN).
>Much more often, your audience is "the maintenance programmer who
>inherits this code." When writing to this audience, optimize for
>readability. Use descriptive (but not verbose) variable names, and
>comment the intent (not the mechanics) of your code. Comments are most
>valuable when they capture the relevant information from the "sitting
>and thinking" process that Peter describes. Comments should be clear,
>concise, and to the point.
The ``Maintenance Programmer'' may well be me, and I need to be able to
figure out what I was doing when I wrote the code originally so meaningful
variable names, and internal comments make this job much easier.
INTERNET: bill at Celestial.COM Bill Campbell; Celestial Systems, Inc.
UUCP: camco!bill PO Box 820; 6641 E. Mercer Way
FAX: (206) 232-9186 Mercer Island, WA 98040-0820; (206) 236-1676
``Microsoft IIS has more holes than a wheel of Swiss Cheese after a shotgun
blast'' -- John Dvorak
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
POST TO: spug-list at pm.org PROBLEMS: owner-spug-list at pm.org
Subscriptions; Email to majordomo at pm.org: ACTION LIST EMAIL
Replace ACTION by subscribe or unsubscribe, EMAIL by your Email-address
For daily traffic, use spug-list for LIST ; for weekly, spug-list-digest
Seattle Perl Users Group (SPUG) Home Page: http://seattleperl.org
More information about the spug-list