There are some basic principles for team software development that every developer must keep in mind. Whenever the detailed guidelines are inadequate, confusing or contradictory, refer back to these principles for guidance:

  • Every developer's code must be easy for another developer to read, understand, and modify — even if the first developer isn't around to explain it. (This is the "hit by a truck" principle.)
  • Everybody's code should look the same. Ideally, there should be no way to look at lines of code and recognize it as "Alice's code" by its style.
  • Be precise.
  • Be concise.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Use the smallest hammer for the job.
  • Use common sense.
  • Keep related code together. Minimize the amount of jumping around someone has to do to understand an area of code.