May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
(slightly skeptical) Educational society promoting "Back to basics" movement against IT overcomplexity and  bastardization of classic Unix

Sorting Algorithms Coding Style

For student it is important to understand the flowchart and C-implementation. After that you can "objectify", javafy" or "Cpp-fy" or distort in other inventive ways the basic algorithm at your own pleasure ;-) The key ideas are simpler to understand in flowcharts and C or assembler.

General style of C implementations of sorting algorithms is essentially traditional C programming style. Common convertions include

 Only one statement should occur per line

For example, in Java this would involve having statements written like this:

b = a;

But not like this:

++a; b = a;

Boolean values in decision structures

Some programmers suggest that coding where the result of a decision is merely the computation of a Boolean value, are overly verbose and error prone. They prefer to have the decision in the computation itself, like this:

return (hours < 24) && (minutes < 60) && (seconds < 60);

The difference is entirely stylistic, because optimizing compilers may produce identical object code for both forms. However, stylistically, programmers disagree which form is easier to read and maintain.

Arguments in favor of the longer form include: it is then possible to set a per-line breakpoint on one branch of the decision; further lines of code could be added to one branch without refactoring the return line, which would increase the chances of bugs being introduced; the longer form would always permit a debugger to step to a line where the variables involved are still in scope.

Left-hand comparisons

In languages which use one symbol (typically a single equals sign, (=)) for assignment and another (typically two equals signs, (==) for comparison (e.g. C/C++, Java, ActionScript 3, PHP, Perl numeric context, and most languages in the last 15 years), and where assignments may be made within control structures, there is an advantage to adopting the left-hand comparison style: to place constants or expressions to the left in any comparison. [10] [11]

Here are both left and right-hand comparison styles, applied to a line of Perl code. In both cases, this compares the value in the variable $a against 42, and if it matches, executes the code in the subsequent block.

if ($a == 42) { ... }  # A right-hand comparison checking if $a equals 42.
if (42 == $a) { ... }  # Recast, using the left-hand comparison style.

The difference occurs when a developer accidentally types = instead of ==:

if ($a = 42) { ... }  # Inadvertent assignment which is often hard to debug
if (42 = $a) { ... }  # Compile time error indicates source of problem

The first (right-hand) line now contains a potentially subtle flaw: rather than the previous behaviour, it now sets the value of $a to be 42, and then always runs the code in the following block. As this is syntactically legitimate, the error may go unnoticed by the programmer, and the software may ship with a bug.

The second (left-hand) line contains a semantic error, as numeric values cannot be assigned to. This will result in a diagnostic message being generated when the code is compiled, so the error cannot go unnoticed by the programmer.

Some languages have built-in protections against inadvertent assignment. Java and C#, for example, do not support automatic conversion to boolean for just this reason.

The risk can also be mitigated by use of static code analysis tools that can detect this issue.

Looping and control structures

The use of logical control structures for looping adds to good programming style as well. It helps someone reading code to better understand the program's sequence of execution (in imperative programming languages). For example, in pseudocode:

i = 0
while i < 5
  print i * 2
  i = i + 1
end while
print "Ended loop"

The above snippet obeys the naming and indentation style guidelines, but the following use of the "for" construct may be considered easier to read:

for i = 0, i < 5, i=i+1
  print i * 2
print "Ended loop"

In many languages, the often used "for each element in a range" pattern can be shortened to:

for i = 0 to 5
  print i * 2
print "Ended loop"

In programming languages that allow curly brackets, it has become common for style documents to require that even where optional, curly brackets be used with all control flow constructs.

for (i = 0 to 5) {
  print i * 2;
print "Ended loop";

This prevents program-flow bugs which can be time-consuming to track down, such as where a terminating semicolon is introduced at the end of the construct (a common typo):

 for (i = 0; i < 5; ++i);
    printf("%d\n", i*2);    /* The incorrect indentation hides the fact 
                               that this line is not part of the loop body. */
 printf("Ended loop");

...or where another line is added before the first:

 for (i = 0; i < 5; ++i)
    fprintf(logfile, "loop reached %d\n", i);
    printf("%d\n", i*2);    /* The incorrect indentation hides the fact 
                               that this line is not part of the loop body. */
 printf("Ended loop");


Where items in a list are placed on separate lines, it is sometimes considered good practice to add the item-separator after the final item, as well as between each item, at least in those languages where doing so is supported by the syntax (e.g., C, Java)

const char *array[] = {
    "item3",  /* still has the comma after it */

This prevents syntax errors or subtle string-concatenation bugs when the list items are re-ordered or more items are added to the end, without the programmer's noticing the "missing" separator on the line which was previously last in the list. However, this technique can result in a syntax error (or misleading semantics) in some languages. Even for languages that do support trailing commas, not all list-like syntactical constructs in those languages may support it.

There are some useful variables naming conventions that are widely used in sorting algorithms:



Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers :   Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism  : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy


War and Peace : Skeptical Finance : John Kenneth Galbraith :Talleyrand : Oscar Wilde : Otto Von Bismarck : Keynes : George Carlin : Skeptics : Propaganda  : SE quotes : Language Design and Programming Quotes : Random IT-related quotesSomerset Maugham : Marcus Aurelius : Kurt Vonnegut : Eric Hoffer : Winston Churchill : Napoleon Bonaparte : Ambrose BierceBernard Shaw : Mark Twain Quotes


Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law


Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Haterís Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

Most popular humor pages:

Manifest of the Softpanorama IT Slacker Society : Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society : Computer Humor Collection : BSD Logo Story : The Cuckoo's Egg : IT Slang : C++ Humor : ARE YOU A BBS ADDICT? : The Perl Purity Test : Object oriented programmers of all nations : Financial Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : The Most Comprehensive Collection of Editor-related Humor : Programming Language Humor : Goldman Sachs related humor : Greenspan humor : C Humor : Scripting Humor : Real Programmers Humor : Web Humor : GPL-related Humor : OFM Humor : Politically Incorrect Humor : IDS Humor : "Linux Sucks" Humor : Russian Musical Humor : Best Russian Programmer Humor : Microsoft plans to buy Catholic Church : Richard Stallman Related Humor : Admin Humor : Perl-related Humor : Linus Torvalds Related humor : PseudoScience Related Humor : Networking Humor : Shell Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2012 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2013 : Java Humor : Software Engineering Humor : Sun Solaris Related Humor : Education Humor : IBM Humor : Assembler-related Humor : VIM Humor : Computer Viruses Humor : Bright tomorrow is rescheduled to a day after tomorrow : Classic Computer Humor

The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt. Ph.D

Copyright © 1996-2021 by Softpanorama Society. was initially created as a service to the (now defunct) UN Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP) without any remuneration. This document is an industrial compilation designed and created exclusively for educational use and is distributed under the Softpanorama Content License. Original materials copyright belong to respective owners. Quotes are made for educational purposes only in compliance with the fair use doctrine.

FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to advance understanding of computer science, IT technology, economic, scientific, and social issues. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided by section 107 of the US Copyright Law according to which such material can be distributed without profit exclusively for research and educational purposes.

This is a Spartan WHYFF (We Help You For Free) site written by people for whom English is not a native language. Grammar and spelling errors should be expected. The site contain some broken links as it develops like a living tree...

You can use PayPal to to buy a cup of coffee for authors of this site


The statements, views and opinions presented on this web page are those of the author (or referenced source) and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of the Softpanorama society. We do not warrant the correctness of the information provided or its fitness for any purpose. The site uses AdSense so you need to be aware of Google privacy policy. You you do not want to be tracked by Google please disable Javascript for this site. This site is perfectly usable without Javascript.

Last modified: March 12, 2019