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The Substance of Style


In my recent post on working remotely, I’m realizing that I kind of blew past something that we’ve always felt was key to making working on a series of projects for many different projects like working for Art & Logic on A&L projects, not a series of disconnected projects.

One of the first things that the founders of A&L did was to sit down together and hash out a programming style guide. Over the years, that guide has evolved and grown, and it’s still the way that our developers write code. It’s easy to look at something like this as being a simple set of directives ("Use spaces not tabs! Opening braces go on a line by themselves!"), but it’s really much more than that.

The A&L Programming Style Guide expresses a set of values about what we believe to be important in source code and other project artifacts — clarity over concision, most prominently. I’ve written an article elsewhere on the site explaining why we assign so much importance to this, and why it’s okay that other people or development shops might find things to disagree with, perhaps even some fundamental issues.

Check it out here: Why You Need a Programming Style Guide

{Apologies and thanks to Virginia Postrel — I stole the title of this post from her excellent 2004 book.}

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