language analysis to enforce code standards

Tim Rowe digitig at
Fri Jul 10 14:29:26 EDT 2009

2009/7/10 Peter Otten <__peter__ at>:

> Don't be a fool. Have someone other than the author read the comment.

That's the winning answer as far as I'm concerned. Automated tools are
good for picking up some types of accidental mistakes, but for
checking that comments are meaningful (and variable names, for that
matter) you can't do without peer review.

Think about it. What's the purpose of "enforcing standards". Just a
tick in some assurance box to say "we meet these standards"? Ot to
ensure something about the product quality?

No automated tool -- not for a while yet, anyway -- is going to pick
up comments such as:

# increment x
x += 1


# You are not expected to understand this.

The former is the sort of thing that any programmer might produce when
against a deadline and forced to comment their code. The latter is a
classic from a programming guru of old. An automatic checker that just
checks that the comment exists without understanding its contents
simply is not adding value but is rather petty bureaucracy that will
annoy the programmers.

Tim Rowe

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