Sunday, 22 January 2012

Top 7 Coding Standards and Guideline Documents For C#/.NET Developers

As you may already know, it is easy to come up with a document - the key is in implementing these standards in your organization, through methods like internal trainings, Peer Reviews, Check in policies, Automated code review tools etc. You can have a look at FxCop and/or StyleCop for automating the review process to some extent, and can customize the rules based on your requirements.
Anyway, here is a list of some good Coding Standard Documents. They are useful not just from a review perspective - going through these documents can definitely help you and me to iron out few hidden glitches we might have in the programming portion of our brain.
So, here we go, the listing is not in any specific order.
1 – IDesign C# Coding Standards
IDesign C# coding standards is a pretty decent and compact (27 pages) Coding Standards Document. It covers a Naming conventions, Best practices and Framework specific guidelines. Example:
The document even has guidelines for project settings, build configuration, versioning etc. Good work by IDesign guys. You can download the document here
2 – Encodo C# Handbook
Encodo C# handbook is bit more recent, and has 72 pages of guidelines on Structure, Formatting, Naming. It also has a ‘Patterns and Best Practices’ section, which is a must read for any .NET/C# developer.
You can download the Handbook here.
3 – Microsoft Framework Design Guidelines
MSDN has a section on guidelines for Designing class libraries, which covers a set of best practices related to Type Design, Member Design etc. You can find it here.
4 – Denni’s C# Coding Standards document
Dennis created an initial version of C# coding standards, which was published as Philips Health Care C# coding standards document (~70 pages). The document categorizes the guidelines to categories like Naming, Exception Handling, Control Flow etc.
  • Update: Dennis kindly pointed that the Initial Version I linked here earlier has now been superseded by the Coding Guidelines for C# 3.0 and C# 4.0. Paul Jansen of Tiobe will update his site soon regarding the new version - But in meantime, download the guidelines and some companion documents here:
5 – Microsoft’s All-In-One Code Framework Coding Guideline
Microsoft’s All In One Code framework has a Coding Style Guideline document. The Microsoft All-In-One Code Framework is a free, centralized code sample library provided by the Microsoft Community team. It has typical code samples for all Microsoft development technologies, and a code style guideline document with that. Thanks to Kevin for pointing out this guideline document with All In One Code Framework (See the comments)
6 – Brad’s Quick Post on Microsoft Internal Coding Guidelines
Brad had a post on Microsoft Internal coding standards (I’m not sure whether he still follow that in Google, if at all he uses C# there). It is a short post, and is mainly on Styling and Naming conventions.
7 – Mike’s C# Coding Style Guide
Mike Kruger (Sharpdevelop) had published a 13 page C# Coding Style guide. Again, the focus is on Casing, Naming conventions, Declaration style etc. A short and simple Style Guide.
So, if you are still confused about which document to choose - my recommendation is here for you - Based on your landscape, organizational climate, project and domain, go through these documents and pick the relevant recommendations – to formulate your very own 10 page ‘.NET/C# Coding standards/guidelines’ for your team.
Also, if you think I missed any prominent guideline document, list down the same in the comments section, and I’ll include that in the main post if it is relevant – My initial post was about 6 documents, but I expanded/modified the list later based on some feedback I received. Happy Coding.
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