Guidelines about guidelines Edit

Table of Contents

  1. Why we do this
  2. Using guidelines
  3. Changing guidelines
  4. Notifying about changes
  5. Formatting guidelines
    1. Adding a Table of Contents
    2. Adding footnotes
    3. Adding code samples

Why we do this

In a large team, building and maintaining multiple software assets, code consistency and acquired good practices matter.

Having solid guidelines is a pillar of maintainable software, much like continuous integration and a solid review process.

Using guidelines

We recommend that all new starters read the guidelines documents relevant to the technologies they’ll be using.

When reviewing any code, the guidelines apply: it is seriously frowned upon not to follow them!

Of course, guidelines aren’t law — one may ignore them, but there must be a justification, and preferably a comment in the code. “My team doesn’t have time”, or other forms of the threshold of misery, usually aren’t valid reasons to skirt the guidelines :smiling_imp:

Note that the code in a pull request should follow the guidelines, even if the author of the PR isn’t the author of the original code. This is how old code gets updated over time.

Changing guidelines

Coding guidelines are curated collectively. This is the process we choose to follow:

  1. Anyone can submit a pull request by creating a branch named guidelines/whatever-it-relates-to to change or add to any existing guideline document (including this one).

  2. During a suitable grace period, feedback is collected on the pull request in the form of comments, :thumbsup: or :thumbsdown:. Anyone can comment on the changes.

  3. If the proposed changes have collected enough :thumbsup:, a lead engineer merges it. This site is automatically updated.

From this point onwards, all engineers in the team should follow the updated guidelines for new code, and strive to bring old code in compliance - over time, as mentioned above. It is not recommended to upgrade old code in bulk, as this can be much more difficult to test/QA properly.

Notifying about changes

When a pull request is issued, the #geeks and #tech-leads channels in Slack are pinged automatically (through Zapier).

Nothing is (currently) done automatically when a pull request is merged, though, so you may want to broadcast in #geeks or via email as appropriate.

Formatting guidelines

This site uses Jekyll and Github Pages, so Markdown is favoured. Jekyll uses Kramdown-flavoured Markdown, so you may need to change your formatting slightly from Github-flavoured Markdown.

You may respect an 80 column limit in the source to facilitate reviews, or not if you’re content with Github wrapping lines for you.

Use of emoji is encouraged! :grin: The same aliases as standard Slack emoji work.

Adding a Table of Contents

Kramdown can generate a Table of Contents for you automatically, using the headings in your document as the items in the list. To use this, add the following Markdown to the top of your document (immediately after the Front Matter):

## Table of Contents

1. Automatic Table of Contents Here

This will add a heading with the text Table of Contents which doesn’t appear in the table of contents itself, followed by the TOC. The list item shown here will be automatically replaced with the TOC contents.

Adding footnotes

When adding inline references to external sites, you may wish to use footnotes to capture these, which are then displayed at the bottom of the guidelines page. To use these, simply create a reference to the footnote in the location you wish the link to appear, e.g.

The name _Ruby_ was chosen in part because it is Yukihiro Matsumoto’s birthstone[^ruby].

You can then follow this in a suitable location (ideally close by) with the actual footnote reference. This can actually be any valid Markdown, but for simplicity’s sake, you may just want to use a link to the reference source:

[^ruby]: [The name "Ruby"](

Adding code samples

Markdown supports several different types of indicating code blocks, but to take advantage of syntax highlighting, use the following format (without any indentation):

  def what?