Naming Code Elements

In this section we will focus on the accepted conventions for naming projects, files and variables, defined by Microsoft.

Naming Projects and Files

It is recommended to use a descriptive name for naming projects and files, which suggests the role of the respective file / project and at the same time the PascalCase convention is also recommended. This is a convention for naming elements, in which each word, including the first one, starts with an uppercase character, for example ExpressionCalculator.

Example: this course starts with a First steps in coding lecture, therefore an exemplary name for the solution for this lecture can be FirstStepsInCoding. The same convention applies for the files in a project. If we take for example the first problem in the First steps in coding lecture, it is called Hello World, therefore our file in the project will be called HelloWorld.

Naming Variables

In programming variables keep data, and for the code to be more understandable, the name of a variable should suggest its purpose. Here are some recommendations for naming variables:

  • The name should be short and descriptive and to explain what the variable serves for.
  • The name should only contain the letters a-z, A-Z, the numbers 0-9, and the symbol '_'.
  • It is accepted in C# for the variables to always begin with a lowercase letter and to contain lowercase letters, and each next word in them should start with an uppercase letter (this naming is also known as camelCase convention).
  • You should be careful about uppercase and lowercase letters, because C# distinguishes them. For example, age and Age are different variables.
  • The names of the variables cannot coincide with keywords in the C# language, for example int is an invalid name for a variable.
Although using the symbol _ in the names of variables is allowed, in C# it is not recommended and is considered a bad style of naming.

Naming – Examples

Here are some examples for well named variables:

  • firstName
  • age
  • startIndex
  • lastNegativeNumberIndex

Here are some examples for badly named variables, even though the names are correct according to the C# compiler:

  • _firstName (starts with '_')
  • last_name (contains '_')
  • AGE (written in uppercase)
  • Start_Index (starts with an uppercase letter and contains '_')
  • lastNegativeNumber_Index (contains '_')

At a first look all these rules can seem meaningless and unnecessary, but with time passed and experience gaining you will see the need for conventions for writing quality code in order to be able to work more easily and faster in a team. You will understand that the work with a code, which is written without complying with any rules for code quality, is annoying.

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