Intro to Style Guides (Activity)

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=== Deliverables: ===
=== Deliverables: ===
What will the student hand in?
Ideas for assignments:
* A list of questions to answer as the student is reading the articles / watching the video
* A journal assignment (informal writing) where students respond to the arguments in the article / video
* Use the Google and/or Sun checkstyle files to see how well student's existing code meets the style
** Google style file:
** Sun style file:
=== Assessment: ===
=== Assessment: ===
How will the activity be graded?
How will learning will be measured?
Include sample assessment questions/rubrics.
=== Comments: ===
What should the instructor know before using this activity?
What are some likely difficulties that an instructor may encounter using this activity?
=== Additional Information: ===
=== Additional Information: ===

Revision as of 13:47, 28 May 2015

Title The Need for Style Guides
Overview In this activity students will learn about why we need a style guide for team-based projects and compare style guides for a various projects. Based on this experience, students will develop a style guide for their team.
Prerequisite Knowledge Knowledge of basic regular expressions is helpful to understand the checkstyle documentation.
Learning Objectives Upon completion of this activity, students will be able to:
  • Explain how a style guide contributes to a team project.
  • Develop a style guide for a project.


Working by themselves on small projects convinces students that coding style his little relevance. As they begin work on HFOSS projects, they need to begin to build an appreciation for the place of a standardized coding style.

This topic is an opportunity for active debate about coding style, but is also a lesson in the need for accepting standards - even if they are not your preference.


The following activities should be completed by the student before coming to class:

Ideas for in-class activities:

  • Have students work in their groups to compare their assessment of the checkstyle items. Each group should develop a single style for their work.

(optional) Install checkstyle for your favorite IDE:

(optional) Add checkstyle to your build (ant, maven, etc.)


Ideas for assignments:



Additional Information:

Knowledge Area/Knowledge Unit What ACM Computing Curricula 2013 knowledge area and units does this activity cover?
Topic What specific topics are addressed? The Computing Curriucula 2013 provides a list of topics -
Level of Difficulty Is this activity easy, medium or challenging?
Estimated Time to Completion How long should it take for the student to complete the activity?
Materials/Environment What does the student need? Internet access, IRC client, Git Hub account, LINUX machine, etc.?
Author Who wrote this activity?
Source Is there another activity on which this activity is based? If so, please provide a link to the original resource.
License Under which license is this material made available? (

Suggestions for the Open Source Project:

Suggestions for an open source community member who is working in conjunction with the instructor.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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