Bill G., the author of the fantastic SDfat library that Arduino uses to talk to SD cards passed along this document detailing a list of rules that military embedded programmers follow when designing embedded C++. This is handy brush up for all of us who write embedded code (PDF).
The intent of this document is to provide direction and guidance to C++ programmers that will enable them to employ good programming style and proven programming practices leading to safe, reliable, testable, and maintainable code. Consequently, the rules contained in this document are required for Air Vehicle C++ development1 and recommended for non-Air Vehicle C++ development.
As indicated above, portions of Air Vehicle (AV) code will be developed in C++. C++ was designed to support data abstraction, object-oriented programming, and generic programming while retaining compatibility with traditional C programming techniques.
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Great find! While languages like C# have fairly widely accepted ‘standards’ that most professional developers seem to follow, C and C++ tend to be all over the place for things like naming conventions, etc. There’s a lot of wisdom in the document referenced above. Definately have to print a copy out and slap some notes in the margins.
Oh … can I recommend the guide to writing unmaintainable code?
Choose variable names with irrelevant emotional connotation, e. g.:
marypoppins = ( superman + starship ) / god;
This confuses the reader because they have difficulty disassociating the emotional connotations of the words from the logic they’re trying to think about.
If you don’t write embedded C++ code in a critical environment, I’d urge you to walk away from this and read a general software style guide like "The Practice of Programming" or "The Pragmatic Programmer" or "Code Complete". Or the "Effective C++" books, or any of the other C++ guides that encourage you to master a subsection of the language.
This is 146 pages of specification constraining how C++ should be used when developing software for military aircraft embedded systems. It ain’t fun. It is full of hard-won lessons about how not to shoot yourself in the foot (or more appropriately for the language: how not to blow your whole leg off) when writing large embedded C++ modules and projects in large teams. This can be a joyless experience, and in fact I’m sure many embedded developers had a joyless experience working on the JSF project. I know at least one that found it so.
If you are looking for guidelines on better embedded C++, skim this, use your common sense, but don’t let it cramp your style.