Ada 95 Quality and Style Guide Chapter 3

Chapter 3: Readability - TOC - 3.2 NAMING CONVENTIONS

3.2.1 Names


  • Choose names that are as self-documenting as possible.
  • Use a short synonym instead of an abbreviation (see Guideline 3.1.4).
  • Use names given by the application, but do not use obscure jargon.
  • Avoid using the same name to declare different kinds of identifiers.

  • example

    In a tree-walker, using the name Left instead of Left_Branch is sufficient to convey the full meaning given the context. However, use Time_Of_Day instead of TOD.

    Mathematical formulas are often given using single-letter names for variables. Continue this convention for mathematical equations where they would recall the formula, for example:

       A*(X**2) + B*X + C.

    With the use of child packages, a poor choice of package, subunit, and identifier names can lead to a visibility clash with subunits. See the Rationale (1995, §8.1) for a sample of the resulting, rather obscure code.


    A program that follows these guidelines can be more easily comprehended. Self-documenting names require fewer explanatory comments. Empirical studies have shown that you can further improve comprehension if your variable names are not excessively long (Schneiderman 1986, 7). The context and application can help greatly. The unit of measure for numeric entities can be a source of subtype names.

    You should try not to use the same name as an identifier for different declarations, such as an object and a child package. Overusing an identifier in seemingly different name spaces can, in fact, lead to visibility clashes if the enclosing program units are intended to work together.


    See Guideline 8.1.2 for a discussion on how to use the application domain as a guideline for selecting abbreviations.

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