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The problem is that I'm a hardware design engineer by trade. I dabble at programming — now mostly as part of my hobby projects — and I largely make things up as I go along. The end result is that I tend to spend an inordinate amount of time debugging my code. Sometimes the simplest thing can trip me up for ages. For example, I recently took a global int declaration that looked something like the following….

This isn't the exact example, but it's close enough for you to get the idea. As you can see, I remembered to remove the equal symbol, but I forgot to strip out the semicolon at the end. I also made a few other tweaks throughout the body of the program. If you work for a large company, they will probably dictate the coding style you use. There are a lot of books on programming, but they typically focus on teaching the use of the various language operators and constructs.

Take the following two versions of the same snippet of code, for example:. Should there be a space after the for Version B or no space Version A?

Should we use white space to separate things out between the standard parentheses Version B or no white space Version A?

Should the opening squiggly bracket appear on a new line Version B or on the same line as the for Version A?

Should we indent the statements forming the body code using four spaces Version B , two spaces Version A , or some other number of spaces? Where do you go to learn this sort of thing? The overriding reason Mike and his colleagues created this standard is to reduce the number of bugs in embedded software a.

I was chatting with Mike on the phone just a few minutes ago as I pen these words. He acknowledged that a lot of code writing comes down to personal preference, so -- when it came to creating this standard -- he and his co-contributors sat around the table arguing each point. The only criterion for selecting one style rule over another was that rule's ability to minimize potential bugs. Each of these sections is then sub-divided into a number of topics. As an aside, the term Whitespace paradoxically containing no spaces is an esoteric programming language developed by Edwin Brady and Chris Morris at the University of Durham Its name is a reference to white space characters.

As it says on the Whitespace page on Wikipedia: Unlike most programming languages, which ignore or assign little meaning to most white space characters, the Whitespace interpreter ignores any non-whitespace characters. Only spaces, tabs and linefeeds have meaning. An interesting consequence of this property is that a Whitespace program can easily be contained within the whitespace characters of a program written in another language But we digress These rules are followed by the reasoning behind them, any permissible exceptions, and the ways in which the rules are to be enforced.

Let's take the use of braces squiggly brackets , for example. Here's what the Embedded C Coding Standard has to say:. Reasoning: There is considerable risk associated with the presence of empty statements and single statements that are not surrounded by braces. Code constructs like this are often associated with bugs when nearby code is changed or commented out. This risk is entirely eliminated by the consistent use of braces. The placement of the left brace on the following line allows for easy visual checking for the corresponding right brace.

What can I say, except that I totally agree with all of these points? I've tried having the left brace on the same line as my if and for statements because I thought it made my code look "professional.

I've also tried omitting braces when I had only a single statement. This is all the more pathetic when we come to realize that no one but myself ever looks at my code anyway. But having read this standard, I feel empowered to use braces for everything: multiple statements, single statements, and even empty statements. In the case of indentation, the first rule says "Each indentation Level within a module should consist of 4 spaces" there are additional rules that modify this first rule as necessary.

The reasoning behind this reads as follows: "Fewer indentation spaces increase the risk of visual confusion, while more spaces increases the likelihood of line wraps.

Once again, I'm forced to agree with this. I've been using two spaces for indentation because this is what I've seen others use, but I just tried using four spaces on a block of my existing code and the result is much more readable.

One rule that almost made me squeal with delight was in regard to equivalence tests. This rule reads as follows: "When evaluating the equality or inequality of a variable with a constant value, always place the constant value on the left side of the comparison operator.

I cannot tell you how many hours my implementing this rule would have saved me in the past. I tell you -- I read the Embedded C Coding Standard in only one evening, but it's going to dramatically change the way I write my programs in the future. Watch this space for future developments So instead I rely on my lint and compiler to catch these errors when I inevitably ma. Although again setting the warning level higher. As Paul says, your compiler will alert you to assignment inside relational expressions.

Enable all the warnings your compiler can issue, and have it treat them like errors. And being a hobbyist, or using hobby-style tools, is not an excuse. If your compiler doesn't support even the most basic of static warnings and error checking, get a better compiler. The comp. Everyone here is arguing that it makes code less readable and that you should use better tools lint, newer compiler or better options with your current compiler. To address the first point, if someone.

That is how language works. Though it is highly dou. Every coding standard for embedded p. My first inclination was to place the top brace on a separate line — because, you kn. My point was it makes it less readable by spreading it out. And for the same reason taking nested logic and putting it into a hierarchy of function calls 4 levels deep.

It changed how I write my code completely. I also incorporated it's use in our small company, which I believe is a good thing. You must Register or Login to post a comment. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. You must verify your email address before signing in.

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Embedded C Coding Standard

The problem is that I'm a hardware design engineer by trade. I dabble at programming — now mostly as part of my hobby projects — and I largely make things up as I go along. The end result is that I tend to spend an inordinate amount of time debugging my code. Sometimes the simplest thing can trip me up for ages.


Which coding standard is best for embedded software?

Embedded C Coding Standard. Michael Barr. Netrino's Embedded C Coding Standard was developed from the ground up to minimize bugs in firmware, by focusing on practical rules that keep bugs out-while also improving the maintainability and portability of embedded software. The coding standard details a set of guiding principles more below as well as specific naming conventions and other rules for the use of data types, functions, preprocessor macros, variables and much more. Individual rules that have been demonstrated to reduce or eliminate certain types of bugs are highlighted. In that role, he has provided expert witness testimony in federal court, appeared on PBS' American Business Review, and been quoted in various newspapers.

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