When it’s time to consider software development options for your business, knowing the importance of software code standards saves you money and time in the long run. While you may not have been aware that such conventions exist, we’ll identify their importance and provide information on what to look for.
You don’t have to know software code in order to understand and prepare for your next software project. Let’s take a closer look at why it’s important and what standards in software code you should look for.
Table of Contents
- What Are Coding Standards?
- Why Coding Standards Are Important
- Types of Coding Standards
- Best Practices
- Summary of Observations and Conclusions
What Are Coding Standards?
Let’s set the definition for software coding standards. Rather than hard laws that one can’t break, think of software code development standards as a collection of powerful and very logical suggestions. They’re like a helpful ‘handbook of software development best practices’. Not an instruction manual of course, but rather a guide that explains some great practices, as well as calling out some big no-nos in coding layout.
Why Coding Standards Are Important
One of the main differences between good code and the bad kind is readability. Unless you’re a coding enthusiast yourself, it may not be obvious how important this aspect is. After all, you may be thinking programming code is written in neat lines of computerized text, so where’s the problem?
The problem is that complex code files can get incredibly lengthy, which makes the job of finding and fixing problems a technical feat at best. At worst, even basic maintenance of poorly written code may become unmanageable to the extreme. Think crash and burn, in software terms.
Clearly, one of the big gains from using a reputable software development firm is that they should be reliable about sticking to software code standards and safe practices. This approach protects the software from the threat of destructive code potentially going unnoticed or becoming irreversibly embedded in the program.
Bad Code Can Lead To Vulnerable Software
A project that’s been written in compliance with software coding standards ensures the security of your investment in more ways than one. Firstly, there’s the Crash and Burn scenario we mentioned a moment ago. This situation can easily arise within code when it isn’t constructed with a high degree of planning and expertise.
If we think of a software project as more living than lifeless, the problem becomes simple to understand. Depending on the application, there can be a frequent need for maintenance and minor adjustments within the code. The reasons driving this factor are numerous, with web interaction being one of the more easily relatable challenges. But in general, most software requires at least a basic level of ongoing maintenance to ensure that it remains current and functioning reliably.
Without a standardized structure to its layout and execution, software code can become practically unreadable, even to a trained expert. At the very least this will cause software maintenance costs to be higher because reading the program will be much more time consuming. This is assuming the best of luck, where the software can manage to remain functional.
When too many wildcard problems exist in programming code, then the worst happens. The software begins behaving in unwanted ways, and when attempts are made to correct it, the changed code causes bigger problems to arise. As those problems are addressed, even larger issues become apparent as a result of these changes. This expanding pattern of destruction will often continue until the software can no longer function. Sadly, any funds invested into the development of the project are likely forfeit at that point.
Cyber security is another aspect of software development that usually demands attention. Keeping up an effective defense against maliciously clever hackers is a serious concern in many applications. Without software code standards, a program’s structure will be that much more challenging to embed with the appropriate security measures where they may be needed the most. This problem as before owes to the lack of readability in the code’s layout.
A Welcome Fact: Some Industries Require It
In the past, some now well documented cases with very dramatic outcomes have forced the world to examine the life endangerment and safety aspect of software. Serious accidents in the medical industry and other sectors have come to symbolize a type of Class Action Summary Of Convictions against bad coding practices.
To drive home the importance of software coding standards, let’s turn to a real life example from history. One tragic case involved a radiation therapy machine called the Therac-25. Only after the Therac-25 had caused numerous serious injuries and fatalities to patients was it established that poor software had been the root cause all along.
Although the Therac-25’s software engineers were told of these incidents early on, their overconfidence caused them to not accept the problem as one that their software was causing. Instead, they dismissed the complaints as user error and went on assuming that their software was flawless.
Thankfully, laws are now in place to protect people from that kind of negligence, and for good reason. If we simply look at the pattern of effect that software coding standards have on the world, it’s easy to see why we really need them. Earlier we highlighted how standards routinely save software from destruction caused by unstructured code. Now we’ve also seen how those same conventions can protect lives from avoidable injuries and fatalities caused by negligent coding practices.
Elevates Knowledge and Experience For Owners and Users
As we’ve discussed, software that’s designed to comply with coding standards will inherently be far more organized. This also means that the software will be easier to make changes to, if any are needed. This feature can be of critical importance when it comes to market-testing of product prototypes and other items under development.
It often raises a product’s eventual quality dramatically to have a small group of test users put the product to work and provide the manufacturer with feedback. Naturally, this fact applies as much to software products as to any consumer item. Coding standards make this process easier by eliminating confusion resulting from unstructured code. The feedback that’s received can be easily implemented into the software’s code without undue strain or cost.
Reduced Development Costs
At Endertech, we employ all of the most current code standards in our development process. We never deviate from our coding standards best practices ideal, because this policy delivers superior results. To expand on a point we made earlier, the impact that software code standards have on a software project is profound. It’s fair to say that these standards elevate the resulting quality of a project in every conceivable manner.
Reduces the Amount of Trouble In Future Updates
Yet another of these advantages can be found where updates to the software are expected to be routine or recurring. Software coding standards shine through again, making the task of adding in the updates a quicker and less troublesome procedure.
Far Lower Costs of Investigations / Downtime
Further, if problems arise within the function of the software program, the job of investigating and fixing it as well as downtime incurred during corrections are minimized. Proper organization and complete documentation of the software ensures a more stable and predictable product, reducing the time spent on troubleshooting and repairs.
Types Of Coding Standards
We’ve shown you several instances where software coding standards can mean the difference between creating robust software or chaotic, inefficient software. Now let’s run through some quick examples of specific coding languages. We’ll highlight what standards exist for a few of the main ones, and where they have been applied.
First appearing in 1995, Java is a powerful, high level programming language that’s been used extensively in software development. Because it’s been so heavily relied upon in industry, it can be found controlling applications nearly everywhere in the world today.
Many articles can be found which reference guidelines for standardized Java coding practices. Depending on what industry it’s used in, the standards can vary but the main priorities of each remain similar.
Where It’s Used
Java is employed so extensively that it’s hard to find a place where it isn’t in use. Both the Aerospace and the Medical industries are required by law to adhere to strict Java coding standards.
Taking the stage in 1991, Python is a programming language that came to be a major influence on the development of many successive languages.
While Python has fewer variations of them than Java, coding standards for this language exist nonetheless.
Where It’s Used
Fintech and the financial sector as well as the automotive industry all use regulated Python software coding standards in their everyday processes.
C++ is an interesting software language that sees wide use in very high speed applications like computing, where great accuracy and memory management are vital.
As with some other languages, more than one variation of standards exist for C++. Visit the link for more information.
Where It’s Used
Robotics and Scientific Computing are both examples of industries that employ comprehensive coding standards in C++ applications.
Does Google Require Certain Standards?
While not technically a programming language of itself, Google enforces a high degree of standards upon all programming languages that enter its realm.
Is It Used / Required
With so many of today’s technologies depending on the Google Cloud, it’s safe to say that a great percentage of the internet world is required to adhere to Google’s standards policies, in one form or another. This benefits everyone because those standards are designed to provide a safer and more efficient web environment for all the world to use.
When organizing your efforts at bringing your software idea into existence, you’ll benefit greatly by answering a few basic questions. A major consideration is whether or not the law requires you to adhere to regulations regarding how your specific software is programmed. In some cases, you may want to take this matter to a professional development firm to get the official word on it.
Other individuals may be perfectly comfortable researching this information on their own. In both cases however, a good deal of initial research should be done even before consulting with an agency. This will ensure that you already have a feel for how much or how little complication could be involved in completing your software project.
When it comes time to shop around for a development firm, always ask them early on about their development philosophy. Do they have strict company guidelines concerning software coding standards? If they answer that they don’t, then they may adhere to practices that are more costly down the road for their clients.
Summary of Observations and Conclusions
We’ve discussed some of the main advantages of sticking to software coding standards, and how they shape a software project. It’s easy to see how without those standards, a software project might be doomed to eventual failure right from the start.
That’s why Endertech practices only clean coding when putting together a project for our clients. Both before and after our sprints, the entire process we follow is designed to ensure this consistency from start to finish.
We have a strong and ethical Quality Assurance process which guarantees that these coding standards prevail throughout all our projects, regardless of the type.
If you do some research yourself, you’ll likely discover even more reasons to implement software coding standards into all your software projects. Talk to us today about your software idea and let us help you gain more insight into software quality and the standards that continue driving it upward.