Code Formatting Conventions

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In the beginning of OpenMW we did not have any code formatting conventions, which resulted in substantial inconsistencies. This page tries to codify the conventions that are most commonly used in the code base. Please stick to them, even if the code in the neighbourhood of what you are working on is not.

Layout & Indention

This is an example of the layout & indention style we encourage.

 // somefile.hpp
 namespace SomeSpace
     class SomeClass
            int mSomeVar;
            float someFunction(float p1, float p2) const;

            int getSomeVar() const { return mSomeVar; }  // Allowed only for one-liner getters and setters.
            void setSomeVar(int v) { mSomeVar = v; }     // All other functions should be implemented in somefile.cpp.

 // somefile.cpp
 namespace SomeSpace
     float SomeClass::someFunction(float p1, float p2) const
         return p1 + p2;

Note that the indention width is 4 spaces. If you use tabs instead of spaces, our build server will reject your code. Mixing spaces and tabs is not good.

Trailing spaces are unwanted, but avoid fixing it in existing code if there are no other changes in the same block of code.

General code formatting

if (x > 0)
    doSomething();                              // CORRECT

if (x > 0)
    doSometing();                               // CORRECT

if (someCondition1() && someCondition2()
    && someCondition3() && someCondition4())    // CORRECT

if (x > 0) doSomething();                      // WRONG!

if (x > 0) {
    doSomething();                             // WRONG!

if (someCondition1() && someCondition2()
    && someCondition3() && someCondition4())   // WRONG!


An implementation file (cpp) should always start by including its own header.

Further includes should be grouped. Groups must be separated by an empty line.

Standard C and C++ headers


 #include <string>

C headers (if any) should be listed before the C++ headers.

External libraries headers

 #include <osg/Vec3f>

If more than one external library is used, each library's headers should be put into a separate group.

Components headers

 #include <components/compiler/context.hpp>

Apps headers

 #include <mwworld/world.hpp>

Local headers

 #include "world.hpp"

Doxygen Comments

Class definitions and function declarations should have doxygen comments. We aren't very strict about this though (especially for trivial functions).

A class should be documented like this:

 /// \brief short description
 /// Longer description.
 class SomeClass

The longer description can be skipped, if there is nothing more to say.

A function should be documented like this:

 /// Description.
 void someFunction();

Here is a link to the Doxygen Documentation. Please make plenty of use of the listed commands, especially the following:

  • \a
  • \attention
  • \brief
  • \note
  • \p
  • \param
  • \return
  • \todo