Effect Analysis of Coding Convention Violations on Readability of Post-Delivered Code

Taek LEE  Jung-Been LEE  Hoh Peter IN  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E98-D   No.7   pp.1286-1296
Publication Date: 2015/07/01
Publicized: 2015/04/10
Online ISSN: 1745-1361
DOI: 10.1587/transinf.2014EDP7327
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Software Engineering
coding conventions,  coding style standard,  code readability,  software quality,  empirical study,  

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Adherence to coding conventions during the code production stage of software development is essential. Benefits include enabling programmers to quickly understand the context of shared code, communicate with one another in a consistent manner, and easily maintain the source code at low costs. In reality, however, programmers tend to doubt or ignore the degree to which the quality of their code is affected by adherence to these guidelines. This paper addresses research questions such as “Do violations of coding conventions affect the readability of the produced code?”, “What kinds of coding violations reduce code readability?”, and “How much do variable factors such as developer experience, project size, team size, and project maturity influence coding violations?” To respond to these research questions, we explored 210 open-source Java projects with 117 coding conventions from the Sun standard checklist. We believe our findings and the analysis approach used in the paper will encourage programmers and QA managers to develop their own customized and effective coding style guidelines.