Web development has gone through a major facelift since the last few years. It has transitioned from the semi-straightforward approach like HTML pages topped up with a bit of Flash and JavaScript to the more developed application-based designs using Ajax, Flex and Adobe AIR. It is similar to the changes that the software developers have been dealing with for years. Yet a lot of web developers still follow the old school days and don’t take out the time or don’t have knowledge to incorporate these coding standards when developing their applications.

In this article, we will discuss exactly what this web development coding standards are, and why a web developer should start implementing these in their web development or application development projects. The points that we will be discussing in this article can be embraced for the development of any application.

What exactly are coding standards?

They are guidelines which have been set to help a developer with the process of web development consistently over time. Writing consistent codes not only help the developer who is writing it but also proves helpful for developers who might have to work on future web development projects on the same lines. The guidelines for coding envelop two basic arenas of the coding process.

The first one is all about how you actually write your code, which is often referred to as code conventions. Everything from how you name your variables to methods, classes, comments and packages to the organization of the file structure come under the definition of Code conventions. These conventions define how your code will visually appear to the next developer working on the same development process.

The second aspect involves adopting and implementing the code design patterns. A design pattern like the Model-View-Controller (MVC) acts as an abstracted guide for developers trying to solve commonly occurring problems in web-application development.

Having guidelines defined around this abstraction and how it is to be implemented in the code helps create an experience that is consistent in nature. Code conventions is the primary focus when a coding standard is being specified by an organization, team or for a specific project. Yet how the code design patterns are implemented holds as much importance to the overall standardization process as to how the code has been written.

Why use coding standards?

Now that the realm of the coding standards has been defined, it is time to know why a web developer should implement those coding standards into their web-application development projects. The best example of a standardized coding is when a web-application development team consists of more than one person, like in an open-source project.

It is nightmarish for an organization to imagine having to maintain a code base that has x number of developers, all of whom are busy writing codes with entirely different naming processes and file structures. Now imagine you are a new developer and have been asked to join in. How would you expect yourself to find things? What if you wanted to make changes or add a new class to the project? If there’s a bug in a code that has been developed by another coder and you need to fix things, how will you do it?

In a codebase that is free-for-all, you would often find something that is known as a spaghetti code. And it is called so because the code is extremely hard to follow, since the structure of the code keeps changing from method to method, line by line and class to class. This can become extremely hard to manage and debug.

And that’s where the need for following the coding standards arises from, may it be a web based development project or the development of some other application. Coding standards is something that a developer in today’s times cannot ignore and needs to abide by no matter what, that is if a web development company working on some application or web development project is to ensure a smooth and effective collaboration amongst its development team.

Author: Venus Kumar Vij