Chapter 3Coding with Style

  • The importance of documenting your code, and what kind of commenting styles you can use
  • What decomposition means and how to use it
  • What naming conventions are
  • What formatting rules are

If you’re going to spend several hours each day in front of a keyboard writing code, you should take some pride in all that work. Writing code that gets the job done is only part of a programmer’s work. After all, anybody can learn the fundamentals of coding. It takes a true master to code with style.

This chapter explores the question of what makes good code. Along the way, you’ll see several approaches to C++ style. As you will discover, simply changing the style of code can make it appear very different. For example, C++ code written by Windows programmers often has its own style, using Windows conventions. It almost looks like a completely different language than C++ code written by Mac OS programmers. Exposure to several different styles will help you avoid that sinking feeling you get when opening up a C++ source file that barely resembles the C++ you thought you knew.


Writing code that is stylistically “good” takes time. You probably don’t need much time to whip together a quick-and-dirty program to parse an XML file. Writing the same program with functional decomposition, adequate comments, and a clean structure would take you more time. Is it really worth it?

Thinking Ahead

How confident would you ...

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