Effective Java Checklist

 One good way to quickly, easily and effectively stand-up software development guidelines is to draw from established works in the software engineering field.  Instead of writing extensive coding standards "from scratch", you cite established works and note which of the recommendations in those works you intend to follow and which you won't apply to the project at hand. 

The Java programming language is more than sufficiently mature to have an established body of work to draw from and for several years now most organizations I've dealt with have gone the citation route for the bulk of their Java standards rather than writing everything themselves - a good example of intellectual re-use.

I like to use a checklist from Effective Java that summarizes the very well-known and very often cited recommendations from the book.  I've used this on many projects.  As a software architect, I have highlighted or crossed out items on this list as a my direction on the coding standards - I understand each of these points and any programmer that doesn't can go look them up in the text.  When working with organizations standing up software standards, I've also used this as a starting point, as "straw man", of candidate standards and worked with the stakeholders in the organization to develop a consensus about which of these practices they do, or do not, want to incorporate into their organization's standards.

- Brian

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