the whole world burns

Archive for October 2009

On variable naming conventions

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Isaac Schlueter:

[O]ur conventions for naming things should take into consideration the limitations of the human brain. The length of a variable's name should be proportional to the distance between its definition and its use, and inversely proportional to its frequency of use.

Global config setting that gets specified once and used in 4 places throughout the program? 10-20 characters is probably appropriate. Might wanna go with UPPER_SNAKE_CASE to make it stand out a bit more, even.

Iterator variable that you define in a 3-line for loop and then never see again outside of it? Call it "i".

Another way to look at this: The first time you meet someone, you learn their full name. When discussing them with someone else who knows them, you use just a single name. If they're standing right there, you don't bother using their name, but just make eye contact, and maybe a "Hey". Should be the same way with variables.

Small things, links and miscellany, sparkling with light. Sam's tumblelog.