CPSC 120 Principles of Computer Science Fall 2016

CPSC 120 Programming Standards

Consider a paper you are writing for a course. It is certainly important that you get the English grammar correct and arrange your ideas in a logical order - without that, your reader will have no idea what you are talking about. It is similar when you write Processing code - if you don't get the syntax right and the steps arranged in the right order, the computer won't be able to correctly display your page or run your sketch.

But think back to that paper for a minute. Your professor probably also specified some formatting requirements - that the paper be double-spaced or use a certain size font or have certain margins, for example. The spacing and font and margins have nothing to do with the correctness of the paper in terms of the ideas you are expressing, but are important for making the paper easier to read. Similarly, there are established programming standards which dictate things like spacing, indentation, and naming styles in your program in order to improve understandability and readability for humans beyond simply having a correctly-executing program.

You should follow the style of the examples in the textbook and in class. Some rules are summarized below for convenience. You will lose points for lack of readability, even if your code is otherwise correct.


Give variables and functions descriptive names of an appropriate length:

Use whitespace to enhance readability:

Use comments to enhance readability and explain things for the human reader:

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