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  1. #1
    rgsparber's Avatar
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    Temporary Naming Convention for Software

    Have you ever been focused on writing software and had to come up with a temporary variable name? At times like that, my creativity is focused on the code and not on picking that variable name. I used to pick names like “junk”, “junk1”, etc and they would later come back to haunt me when I used the same name twice in a piece of code. Then a very smart programmer showed me that, built right into my keyboard, was a nice selection of unique names!

    If you are interested, please see

    http://rick.sparber.org/SNC.pdf


    Your comments are welcome. All of us are smarter than any one of us.


    Thanks,

    Rick

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    Rick

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    Toolmaker51 (04-27-2017)

  3. #2
    [email protected] tonyfoale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rgsparber View Post
    Have you ever been focused on writing software and had to come up with a temporary variable name? .....................

    Your comments are welcome.
    Rick,

    I don't want to appear negative, just honest, but I really, really don't like it. I like understandable and meaningful words for variables, temporary or not. That way I can come back to it 5 years later and it still makes sense.

  4. #3
    rgsparber's Avatar
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    Tony,

    Here is an example of where the meaning isn't important:

    Say I want to swap A and B:

    qaz = A
    A = B
    B = qaz

    These "keyboard" names would never be used outside of the immediate vicinity.

    For names that are passed around, I like to use the initial caps format. For example, LongTermAverageFlowRate. It takes more typing, but like you said, in 5 years, it will still make sense. At my age, I will be confused tomorrow so need this long form.

    Rick
    Rick

  5. #4
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    Makes me glad I'm not smart enough to write code
    Never try to tell me it can't be done
    When I have to paint I use http://kbs.justoldtrucks.com/

  6. #5
    rgsparber's Avatar
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    If you are on the HomeMadeTools site, you are plenty smart enough to write code. Code is just a logical sequence of steps that accomplish a task.

    Rick
    Rick

  7. #6
    [email protected] tonyfoale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rgsparber View Post
    Tony,

    Here is an example of where the meaning isn't important:

    Say I want to swap A and B:

    qaz = A
    A = B
    B = qaz

    These "keyboard" names would never be used outside of the immediate vicinity.

    For names that are passed around, I like to use the initial caps format. For example, LongTermAverageFlowRate. It takes more typing, but like you said, in 5 years, it will still make sense. At my age, I will be confused tomorrow so need this long form.

    Rick
    Rick,

    I started coding with Fortran back when you wrote programmes on fixed format paper forms. So there was limited space for a line of code and it was usual to use the shortest variable names possible. As it was engineering/scientific work names like x,y,z and i,j,k and a,b,c fitted the job quite well. With that background added to a healthy helping of laziness I carried the short variable naming through for decades. I have still a tendency to do that but I have realised that it is much quicker overall to use unambiguous descriptive names as you show. The extra time taken for the increased typing is way less than the time taken to understand a non-descriptive bit of code the day after you wrote it.
    It was late when I replied to your post and to some extent i misunderstood your meaning of temporary. During development I often add "temporary" variables to monitor values. These are temporary in the sense that they are removed once the code is finished, I try to use meaningful names for these.
    That use of "temporary" is, of course, different from that in your "swap A & B" example, where the temp. var. qaz is actually a permanent part of your code. Anyway I still don't like it and I'd use something like "temp" or "C" in similar situations, but hey "different strokes for different folks" is what makes life interesting.

    BTW. the phrase "once the code is finished" is of course jocular.

  8. #7
    Content Editor DIYer's Avatar
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    Thanks Rick! We've added your Temporary Naming Convention to our Miscellaneous category, as well as to your builder page: Rick's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:


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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank S View Post
    Makes me glad I'm not smart enough to write code
    LOL! Luckily I just swallowed my coffee because it would have gotten all over the iPad!

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    Quote Posted by Frank S "Makes me glad I'm not smart enough to write code"
    Quote Posted by C-Bag "LOL! Luckily I just swallowed my coffee because it would have gotten all over the iPad"
    Comment offered by Toolmaker51. Coffee isn't one of my beverages; couldn't fill watch crystal with that consumed so far. Glad and lucky enough to not have purchased equipment dependant on additional code or decoding. Bletchley Park this is not!


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