Coding conventions

Massimiliano Martinelli edited this page Feb 8, 2016 · 3 revisions

igatools coding style

Conventional wisdom says that no particular coding style is better than any other, but it is important to have one. It is easier to read and maintain a code base which uses a consistent style.

We strive to keep our programming style and the kind of interfaces we provide as consistent as possible. To this end, we have adopted a set of coding conventions that we attempt to follow wherever possible. They have two parts: style issues, and something we call "defensive programming", the latter being an attempt to let our code help us find bugs.

The purpose of the coding style is to keep the library as uniform as possible. Uniformity reduces the number of bugs we produce because we can, for example, always assume that input arguments come before output arguments of a function call. They also simplify reading code because some things become clear already by looking at the style a piece of code is written, without having to look up the exact definition of something.

We use astyle to enforce some of the style guidelines.

We also follow most of the ​Google C++ Style Guide with a few exceptions. Not because we like all the conventions but because there is python script ( that detects violation automatically. For sake of self consistency we rewrite below what we consider the most important ones.

Style guides

Function Parameter Ordering
  • When defining a function, parameter order is: inputs, then outputs.
  • Avoid a parameter that is both input and output
  • If it does not worse efficiency return by value (move constructor assumed)

You may use a using-declaration anywhere in a .cpp file, and in functions, methods or classes in .h files. No using in .h otherwise.

Source documentation and comments
  • Doxygen comments should only be in .h files (not in the .cpp)
  • Avoid comments in between the lines of code, put instead a readable explanation at the beginning. Try to let your code be self documenting.
  • Do not be unnecessarily verbose or state the completely obvious. Notice below that it is not necessary to say "returns false otherwise" because this is implied.
// Returns true if the table cannot hold any more entries.
bool IsTableFull();
  • Do not use @briefs or @param to document functions, the brief of the function should be implied by its name and parameters names.

  • We will use @brief for classes but only after the library itself and its documentation are reasonably stable

Types (typedefs and using):
  • using internal type alias is encourage for long types
  • for public aliases use CamelCase (ex Derivatives)
  • for private alias lower case followed by _t (ex return_t)
  • class names are camel case (e.g. PhysicalBasis)
  • each class should be in a single .h\.cpp files pair
  • function and member function in lower case
  • private and protected members end with an underscore, e.g.
Gird<3> grid_;
  • variables are lowercase
  • .h and .cpp and
  • the name of the file must be the name of the class that the file containts, in lower case and with underscore to separate words (e.g. physical_basis.h)

Style tools


Artistic Style is a source code indenter, formatter, and beautifier. For the igatools code you need to use a version >= 2.03. The style file can be found in the $IGATOOLS_SOURCE/utils directory of the sources.

In order to use astyle with the coding style chosen for the igatools libray, a git's pre-commit hook should be used from any client that is pushing some commits.

Unfortunately, the git clone command cannot setup the client-side hooks, so it must be done by hand by any igatools developer on their machine.

For this purpose we provide the proper hook script containing the command necessary to run astyle and apply the style configuration we adopt in igatools.

In order to use this pre-commit hook you should perform the following tasks:

Make sure you have a working version of the astyle program manually link the file $IGATOOLS_SOURCE/utils/pre-commit.astyle to $IGATOOLS_SOURCE/.git/hooks/pre-commit For the lazy, here the code to perform the previous action with Linux or Mac OS X

~ > ln -s $IGATOOLS_SOURCE/utils/pre-commit.astyle $IGATOOLS_SOURCE/.git/hooks/pre-commit

use git as usual. Note: the hook works in a way such that astyle runs using the files staged for the commit. If one or more files are changed by astyle, then you should run git commit a second time without any change in the files between the first and second commit. You can always check which file is modified by astyle (and then if you need to run git commit a second time) with the command git status.


How to run

You can’t perform that action at this time.
You signed in with another tab or window. Reload to refresh your session. You signed out in another tab or window. Reload to refresh your session.
Press h to open a hovercard with more details.