SeaMonkey:MailNews:CodingStyle

Basically, the Mozilla C++ coding style guide rules apply. But our MailNews code has grown evolved over the years and can be rather twisted complex, thus we favour readability over brevity. (Wikipedia has an interesting comparison of the most common quoting style religions.)

The following rules describe our current practice.

Contents

General

No whitespace crusades

Yes, many MailNews code is misaligned, uses tabs instead of spaces for indentation, has trailing whitespace and what not. If doing stuff in the vicinity, fine, do the clean up. But don't touch it just for arbitrary whitespace correction, this just messes up the "whodunnit" history in our repository (and you don't want to look responsible for Blake's someone else's code, do you?).

JavaScript

In general, follow the Mozilla JavaScript rules, but take care of these exceptions:

Capitalize function names

All names should use CamelCase, not under_score_delimiters. But while variable names should begin with lowercase characters, functions (incl. member functions) should begin with an uppercase letter:

function CallSomething(ax)
{
  var conspiracy = ax;
  return conspiracy;
}

Default bracing style is "curly braces go on their own line"

To enhance readability, curly braces should be aligned vertically:

if (condition)
{
  let x = 23;
  CallSomething(x);
}
else
{
  CallSomethingElse();
}

There are quite some (old) files in our codebase which entirely adhere to the "opening curly braces go at the end of a line" style. If you do changes there, please keep the file's coding style consistent. Mixed coding styles only makes things worse.

Empty blocks, e.g. when implementing interfaces or trying to catch exceptions, should really be empty and can go at the end of the line if needed:

// implement nsIFolderListener
var folderListener =
{
  OnItemAdded:   function(parentItem, item) {},
  OnItemRemoved: function(parentItem, item) 
  {
    try
    {
      SomethingWhichThrows();
    }
    catch (ex) {}
  }
};

If one if branch needs braces, the other should have braces as well

// Fine!
if (condition)
  CallSomething(23);
else
  CallSomethingElse();

// Bad! Don't do this!
if (condition)
{
  let x = 23;
  CallSomething(x);
}
else
  CallSomethingElse();

No one-line if contructs

Almost all contemporary debuggers are line debuggers and can't break amidst a line of code:

// Fine!
if (condition)
  return 42;

// Bad! Don't do this!
if (condition) return 42;

Use let for sub-scope variables

The scope of variables should as small as possible. Using the let keyword, the visibility can be restricted to the current block:

function CallSomething(ax)
{
  var x = 23;    // global to CallSomething!
  if (x < ax)
  {
    var y = 42;  // global to CallSomething!
    let z = 666; // local to this if
    for (let i = 0; i < ax; ++i) // i is local to the for loop
      CallSomethingElse(i);
  }
}

XML/XUL

Indent is two spaces per nesting level

<element>
  <element>
    <element/>
  </element>
</element>

Sort XUL attributes

XUL attributes should come in this rough order:

<element id="menu_showMessagePane"
         label="&showMessagePaneCmd.label;"
         accesskey="&showMessagePaneCmd.accesskey;"
         key="key_toggleMessagePane"
         random_other_attributes="put 'em here!"
         oncommand="MsgToggleMessagePane(true);"/>

Especially, id should be first, label/accesskey/key should go together and handlers should be last.

One attribute per line when folding

If the XML element definition (vastly) exceeds the 80 columns limit, it should be wrapped. In this case, put each attribute onto its own line and align them vertically:

<!-- Fine! -->
<element id="menu_showMessagePane" type="checkbox"/>

<!-- Bad! Don't do this! -->
<element id="menu_showMessagePane" type="checkbox" random_other_attribute1="1" random_other_attribute2="1" random_other_attribute3="1"/>

<!-- Fine! -->
<element id="menu_showMessagePane" 
         type="checkbox" 
         random_other_attribute1="1"
         random_other_attribute2="1"
         random_other_attribute3="1"/>

CSS

No divergent rules currently.



This page is maintained by Karsten "Mnyromyr" Düsterloh.