It's all a matter of style

Nov 24, 2003 • 2 minutes to read

Probably one of the most religious issues for developers (at least those using the same platform and programming language) is bracing style. There are several styles available, with the two most popular being K&R style & Allman style. I found this nice description on the different indent styles here, and pasted the different indentation styles below:

_**‘K&R style’ **– Named after Kernighan & Ritchie, because the examples

in K&R are formatted this way. Also called `kernel style’ because the

Unix kernel is written in it, and the `One True Brace Style’ (abbrev.

1TBS) by its partisans. In C code, the body is typically indented by

eight spaces (or one tab) per level, as shown here. Four spaces are

occasionally seen in C, but in C++ and Java four tends to be the rule

rather than the exception.

if () {

‘Allman style’ – Named for Eric Allman, a Berkeley hacker who wrote a

lot of the BSD utilities in it (it is sometimes called `BSD style’).

Resembles normal indent style in Pascal and Algol. It is the only style

other than K&R in widespread use among Java programmers. Basic indent per level shown here is eight spaces, but four (or sometimes three)

spaces are generally preferred by C++ and Java programmers.

if ()


‘Whitesmiths style’ – popularized by the examples that came with

Whitesmiths C, an early commercial C compiler. Basic indent per level

shown here is eight spaces, but four spaces are occasionally seen.

if ()


**‘GNU style’ **– Used throughout GNU EMACS and the Free Software

Foundation code, and just about nowhere else. Indents are always four

spaces per level, with {' and ’ halfway between the outer and inner

indent levels.

if ()


_My “religious” preference is definitely Allman style, but from what I understand authors tend to prefer K&R so that they don’t lose precious book space when printing source. The cool thing is that Whidbey lets you format your code and use whatever indentation style you prefer (there’s 60+ other choices you can make to format your code). What style do you use, and are you religious about it? Say you found a sample on a web site that used a different bracing style, would you change the bracing style before running the app? I would, but only if I were planning on keeping the code…


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