The Ten Commandments for C Programmers
by Henry Spencer
- Thou shalt run lint frequently and study its
pronouncements with care, for verily its perception and
judgement oft exceed thine.
- Thou shalt not follow the NULL pointer, for chaos and
madness await thee at its end.
- Thou shalt cast all function arguments to the expected
type if they are not of that type already, even when
thou art convinced that this is unnecessary, lest they
take cruel vengeance upon thee when thou least expect
- If thy header files fail to declare the return types of
thy library functions, thou shalt declare them thyself
with the most meticulous care, lest grievous harm befall
- Thou shalt check the array bounds of all strings
(indeed, all arrays), for surely where thou typest
"foo" someone someday shall type "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious".
- If a function be advertised to return an error code in
the event of difficulties, thou shalt check for that
code, yea, even though the checks triple the size of
thy code and produce aches in thy typing fingers, for
if thou thinkest "it cannot happen to me", the gods
shall surely punish thee for thy arrogance.
- Thou shalt study thy libraries and strive not to
re-invent them without cause, that thy code may be short
and readable and thy days pleasant and productive.
- Thou shalt make thy program's purpose and structure
clear to thy fellow man by using the One True Brace
Style, even if thou likest it not, for thy creativity
is better used in solving problems than in creating
beautiful new impediments to understanding.
- Thy external identifiers shall be unique in the first
six characters, though this harsh discipline be irksome
and the years of its necessity stretch before thee
seemingly without end, lest thou tear thy hair out and
go mad on that fateful day when thou desirest to make
thy program run on an old system.
- Thou shalt foreswear, renounce, and abjure the vile
heresy which claimeth that "All the world's a VAX",
and have no commerce with the benighted heathens who
cling to this barbarous belief, that the days of thy
program may be long even though the days of thy current
machine be short.