C Programming

Coding style of C Language

System programming, embedded systems, and application development all employ the well-liked programming language C. To ensure readability, maintainability, and consistency, C programmers must adhere to a specific degree of coding style. We’ll talk about the C language’s coding style in this article.

Coding Style of C Language

The coding style of the C programming language is a set of conventions formed over generations of use that guide how a programmer should write C code for maximum readability, maintainability, and efficiency. Writing code with good style ensures that code can be understood and reused without difficulty by other programmers and ultimately helps ensure that code functions as expected.

The below is the convention followed in C coding:

1: Header

The files that store predefined functions are known as headers. It includes function definitions that may be imported or included using the preprocessor instruction #include. This preprocessor directive instructs the compiler to process the header file before compiling the code.

2: Main Body

After the header comes the main body of a C code, where all the code is written. The main body includes functions, variables, comments, loops and many more C Language elements.

3: Naming Conventions

A set of guidelines called naming conventions describes how to give variables, functions, and other parts of the code names. In C, naming conventions typically adhere to the camelCase style, which uses lower case for the first word and capital letters for all following terms like functionName or a variableName.

4: Variable Names

When coding in C, it is important to ensure that variable names are accurately reflective of their meaning, and that comments are used to describe the purpose of a particular code block or algorithm. For example, a variable that is used to store a set of numbers for a for loop could be named ‘numbers’, accompanied by a comment that explains the context. Further, assigning variable data type is also important., like if you are using a number, you should add int before the variable name.

5: Comments

A comment is text that programmers can use but that the compiler ignores added after the two slashes //. They are often made in comments for future usage and is a good practice to use them since it helps others understand your codes.

6: Indentation

Indentation is a crucial component of good coding practice since it promotes readability and clarifies the structure of the code. Indentation in C typically adheres to the four-space or tab-based indentation styles. It is advised to stick with one style of indentation throughout the whole code.

7: Chunking

Good C coding style also recommends the use of whitespace to separate code elements and organize the text into readable ‘chunks’. This means that code should be broken into meaningful functions and subroutines and kept properly indented. Careful indentation of control structures (loops, conditionals, etc.) vastly improves readability, as it visually highlights the order and logical flow of execution.

8: Formatting

Finally, formatting should be consistent throughout the codebase. Good C coding style encourages the use of defined naming conventions (e.g. nouns for variables and uppercase words for constants) and constraints comment styles to predictable, human-readable formats. This ensures that the code is readable by anyone familiar with the conventions, and that changes to elements within the codebase (such as variable names) can be quickly and easily identified and updated.

9: Error Handling

An essential component of the C programming language is error handling. To handle mistakes gracefully and give the user useful feedback, error handling strategies like error codes, return values, or exceptions are advised.

10: Return

Returning a non-zero value indicates failure, whereas returning zero indicates success. Hence, at the conclusion of the main() function, we “return 0“. Nevertheless, the main function can be executed without the return 0. It functions the same.

Example of a C Program

Here is an example of a simple C program:

#include <stdio.h> // Include standard libraries in the header

//Main body of the code starts from here
int main() //main() is a function
    //body of a function is indented to right
    int num1, num2, add; //num1, num2 and add are variable names
    float divide; //int and float are data types.

    printf("Enter two integers\n");
    scanf("%d%d", &num1, &num2);
    add        = num1 + num2; //mathematical operations are being performed
    divide     = num1 / (float)num2;   //typecasting
    printf("Sum = %d\n",add);
    printf("Division = %.2f\n",divide);

    //The program has finished successfully. 0 indicates success.
    return 0;

In the above code, we are using a header, a main() function, comments, a for loop, indentation inside the main function, and a return 0 statement.



By following the C coding style conventions, programs become more logically arranged and easier to read, debug and extend. Additionally, good coding style promotes best practices such as code reuse and optimization, resulting in a higher-quality code base with fewer errors. All in all, following C coding style is an essential part of the development cycle for any C program.

About the author

Hiba Shafqat

I am a Computer Science student and a committed technical writer by choice. It is a great pleasure to share my knowledge with the world in which I have academic expertise.