ProFactor StyleManager

With great pleasure I can announce that our first product has been released! ProFactor StyleManager, a highly-configurable C and C++ source code reformatter is now available for download! StyleManager is a Visual Studio.NET plugin, so you don’t even need to leave your IDE to get the benefit of beautifully formatted code!

If you’re like me, messy code is more than a petty annoyance. If I see braces in awkward places, not enough whitespace around or pointer types not clearly grouped then my poor brain has to spend that little bit longer ‘getting’ the code I’m looking at. And that distraction is enough to cut my productivity considerably. And I’m not the only person to think so!

Over the years I’ve seen some pretty awful code. One guy at my previous employer despised all whitespace — he preferred everything to be on one line where possible. Madness — we found a line over 500 characters long! Even with dual monitors and a small font that spread off the edge of .NET! In addition, these long lines would have lots of nasty side-effects hidden in them, like for() loops with lots of comma-separated operations — hidden 400 characters off the edge of your monitor!

Love them or hate them, coding standards are a step in the right direction at least. Someone experienced (you hope!) sits down and ordains how code should be laid out. But how to enforce it? How do you migrate any existing code to the standard? What if you buy in some third-party source, or use some Open Source software that doesn’t adhere to your new standard?

That’s when you need a decent source code formatter like our new product, StyleManager. You can configure it with your coding standard (or just your personal preferences!) and then it will reformat your code on demand to that standard. It’ll let you word-wrap at sensible points, it’ll add or remove whitespace, it’ll do almost anything to make the code look the way you want.

And that means you’ll spend more brainpower on understanding the meaning of the code. Not trying to decipher what the syntax means. Which is a good thing!

Filed under: Coding
Posted at 12:07:00 BST on 14th September 2005.

About Matt Godbolt

Matt Godbolt is a C++ developer working in Chicago in the finance industry.