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Re: Coding superstitions

by seattlejohn (Deacon)
on Jan 15, 2002 at 12:50 UTC ( #138853=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Coding superstitions

Personally, I'd use the term "conventions" rather than "superstitions". (I guess they are superstitions the way there are superstitions about breaking mirrors, which is to say, if I ignore them, I'll fear I'll have seven years of maintenance headaches, er, I mean bad luck.)

Aside from the usual syntactic stuff (how many spaces to indent each level, anyone?), some of mine are:

  • Use parens liberally in expressions, to minimize unexpected precedence weirdness. And more importantly, because I find it easier to read code I (or somebody else) has written if I don't have to think through the precedence implications in a complex expression; I can do it, I just don't think it's a good use of my (or anyone else's) time.
  • Use descriptive variable names. With a few exceptions my variable names are almost always real word(s) separated by underscores. This way I don't have to worry about whether I called some variable $usraddr or $useraddr; I know it's going to be $user_address. (I also like to think it would be easier to grok for someone who's a non-native English speaker, though that's just speculation.)
  • On a similar note, avoid using $i, $j etc. for loop variables. Instead, I use a convention like this:
    foreach my $this_address (@address_list) { ... }
  • Avoid $_ in most circumstances. I'd rather be explicit about what values I'm using, simply because I find it easier to read later.
  • Semicolons after nearly every line (even if they're the only line in an else). Comma after the final element of a hash/array assignment (unless I'm using qw{}).
  • use strict, use warnings, test return values of system calls, etc. etc. etc. Any opportunity to let the computer find my errors instead of having to hunt them down myself!
  • try to use constant instead of hardcoding any constants in my logic. (I fear I'm far from perfect on this front, though.)
  • write POD as I write the code. Write tests before (or at least concurrently with) the code.
  • always check CPAN/Perlmonks etc. before going off and writing a "utility" sub -- because somebody has probably already done the work, and quite possibly done it better than I would have.

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