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Coding Standards and Human Nature

Volume 14, Number 6, June 2018, pp. 1308-1313
DOI: 10.23940/ijpe.18.06.p22.13081313

Michael Dorin and Sergio Montenegro

Universitat Wurzburg, Wurzburg, 97070, Germany

(Submitted on March 13, 2018; Revised on April 26, 2018; Accepted on May 12, 2018)


Intuition tells us that code that is difficult to review is likely complicated and faulty. Many organizations will create a coding standard to encourage higher quality software development. Coding standards are not always followed, and even when they are, complicated code continues to be written. Human nature demonstrates that people do not put effort into activities that they believe to be unproductive. It is also true that people have limited capacity for remembering and following directions, so extra requirements from a coding standard may even inhibit creativity. Because of human behavior, this paper recommends that organizations have two layers of a coding standard. The first layer should be easy to remember items. The second layer should be the long-established coding standard an organization wishes to comply with.


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