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Java Power Tools by John Ferguson Smart

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Part VI. Quality Metrics Tools

“And I know it seems easy,” said Piglet to himself, “but it isn’t every one who could do it.”

“A House Is Built at Pooh Corner for Eeyore,” The House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne

Despite all appearance to the contrary, writing good, reliable, flexible, maintainable, high-quality software is not an easy task. However, Java developers do not have to learn everything from scratch. Years of good programming habits have been codified in the form of coding standards and best practices.

Coding standards are a key part of many development processes, and for good reason. These standards codify (no pun intended) time-honored traditions and conventions, as well as best practices in the art of software writing. Some recommendations simply define a standard way to layout code or to name classes or variables, while others are designed to make code more reliable or better performing. However, as Andrew S. Tanenbaum, professor of Computer Science at Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, and author of the Minix operating system, said, “The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.” Different companies, teams, and individual developers have developed different programming practices and habits over time. The problems start when developers who use different programming styles and conventions have to work together on a common code base. Indeed, many standards, such as indentation and naming conventions, are fairly arbitrary things. Should the curly brackets ...

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