Proposed coding standards change (always require braces)

Our current PHP coding standards specify that for if statements, “single line blocks can omit braces for brevity.” All other constructs “should always contain braces as this enhances readability, and allows for fewer line edits for debugging or additional functionality later.” I’d like to propose we always require braces for all blocks.

One could argue about coding standards all day (not in this comments thread), but allowing braces to be omitted is probably the only thing in our standards that can cause legitimate problems, like making it easier to introduce errors. It also makes code more annoying to patch and less maintainable, and requires larger diffs. And, it’s more work to debug code, as you have to add braces to add debugging lines, then remove them when done. It’s easy to attempt to add a new line inside the conditional and screw it up, which has occurred even a few times in the last few weeks. For example:

if ( some_conditional() )
    some_new_line();
    return some_function();

Another catalyst here is our new JavaScript standards. Due to multi-line chaining and other situations, it is basically insane to omit curly braces in JavaScript. It would be nice if our standards matched, making this the right time to raise the issue for PHP. Our coding standards have a general emphasis on whitespace and readability, and the lack of braces do generally make code feel lighter and easier to scan, but I think we’ve reached a breaking point. I’ve surveyed the other lead developers and the consensus was that while omitting braces is elegant, it doesn’t best serve the needs of the project (with many people editing many things often).

I’d like to discuss this during today’s meeting, and ideally make a decision.

I will mention that adopting this will mean all new code will receive braces. We can discuss what to do with existing code. Please don’t waste any time on a patch to add braces manually; we’d script it and do it in one commit if that’s the route we decide to take. (There’s more than 8,000 structures lacking braces.) Also worth reading in preparation for a discussion is a section in Linux’s contributor documentation on coding style pitfalls, something I’ve linked to before.

P.S. This wouldn’t change bracing placement. It’s still like this:

function func_name() {
    if ( some_conditional() ) {
        echo "Braces shall be 'cuddled,' not pushed to the next line."
    } else {
        echo "For all control structures.";
    }
}

Update: This proposal was accepted during the Wednesday meeting. I’ve updated the coding standards handbook page. We’ve yet to discuss what we’ll do for old code, but all new and changed code should receive braces.

#coding-style

JavaScript Coding Standards

The PHP files in WordPress core become cleaner and easier to read with every release, thanks in part to our standards for PHP code style. Our JavaScript, on the other hand, hasn’t gotten nearly enough love. This post is intended to open up the recent discussion around JavaScript style to the greater community so we can make up for lost time.

Don’t we already have a style guide for JavaScript?

Back in March, @tommcfarlin added a set of coding standards for JavaScript to the developer handbook. These WordPress JS coding standards are a great work-in-progress, but weren’t fully comprehensive (leading to some comment threads clarifying various areas). More importantly, without any clear implementation plan the style guide failed to gain traction.

At WordCamp Boston’s core contributor day I revisited this style guide with @mattwiebe and Corey Frang (@gnarf37). It is important to identify *and implement* conventions for JS style ASAP because syntax issues in the JS within WordPress may hide latent bugs, and inconsistent code discourages contribution. Focusing on implementation lead us to look for an existing, proven JS style guide with a .jshintrc file (a set of configuration options for the JSHint code quality tool) which we could adopt largely as-is: Getting JSHint in place lets us see the biggest issues in our JS, so we can begin tackling them incrementally (perhaps in the same manner as the inline docs effort).

After looking at Idiomatic.js and several other widely-adopted JS style guides, we feel the jQuery Foundation’s jQuery Core JavaScript Style Guide guide is the closest match for what we need in WordPress.

Adopting the jQuery Core JavaScript Style Guide

jQuery’s guide shared WordPress core’s love of white space—the same “when in doubt, space it out” mantra from the existing JS style page. Moreover, jQuery’s code conventions have been referenced in trac tickets as an example of how we should be writing our code. Adopting their guide wholesale capitalizes on our stylistic similarities, and will let us adopt their .jshintrc and any future code quality tools they write with minimal changes.
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#coding-style, #javascript

I added a little to the file naming sect…

I added a little to the file naming section of the WordPress Coding Standards to clarify the way in which we name our class files.

In summary class files will be named using hypen separation and based on the class name they contain.

I won’t be changing the name of old files but have updated the files we added in 3.1 before it’s too late.

#coding-style

clearing up after rboren

clearing up after rboren

#bug-hunt, #coding-style