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General Naming Conventions 

The general naming conventions discuss choosing the best names for the elements in your libraries. These guidelines apply to all identifiers. Later sections discuss naming specific elements such as namespaces or properties.

Word Choice

Do choose easily readable identifier names. For example, a property named HorizontalAlignment is more readable in English than AlignmentHorizontal.

Do favor readability over brevity. The property name CanScrollHorizontally is better than ScrollableX (an obscure reference to the X-axis).

Do not use underscores, hyphens, or any other nonalphanumeric characters.

Do not use Hungarian notation.

Hungarian notation is the practice of including a prefix in identifiers to encode some metadata about the parameter, such as the data type of the identifier.

Avoid using identifiers that conflict with keywords of widely used programming languages.

While CLS-compliant languages must provide a way to use keywords as regular words, best practices dictate that you do not force developers to know how to do this. For most programming languages, the language reference documentation contains a list of the keywords used by the languages. The following table provides links to the reference documentation for some widely used programming languages.

Language Link

C#

C# Reference

C++

C++ Language Reference

Visual Basic

Visual Basic Reference

Abbreviations and Acronyms

In general, you should not use abbreviations or acronyms. These make your names less readable. Similarly, it is difficult to know when it is safe to assume that an acronym is widely recognized.

For capitalization rules for abbreviations, see Capitalization Rules for Acronyms.

Do not use abbreviations or contractions as parts of identifier names.

For example, use OnButtonClick rather than OnBtnClick.

Do not use any acronyms that are not widely accepted, and then only when necessary.

Language-Specific Names

Do use semantically interesting names rather than language-specific keywords for type names. For example, GetLength is a better name than GetInt.

Do use a generic common language runtime (CLR) type name, rather than a language-specific name, in the rare cases when an identifier has no semantic meaning beyond its type.

For example, a method that converts data to Int16 should be named ToInt16, not ToShort because Short is the language-specific type name for Int16.

The following table shows the language-specific type names for common programming languages and the CLR counterpart.

C# type name Visual Basic type name JScript type name Visual C++ type name Ilasm.exe representation CLR type name

sbyte

SByte

sByte

char

int8

SByte

byte

Byte

byte

unsigned char

unsigned int8

Byte

short

Short

short

short

int16

Int16

ushort

UInt16

ushort

unsigned short

unsigned int16

UInt16

int

Integer

int

int

int32

Int32

uint

UInt32

uint

unsigned int

unsigned int32

UInt32

long

Long

long

__int64

int64

Int64

ulong

UInt64

ulong

unsigned __int64

unsigned int64

UInt64

float

Single

float

float

float32

Single

double

Double

double

double

float64

Double

bool

Boolean

boolean

bool

bool

Boolean

char

Char

char

wchar_t

char

Char

string

String

string

String

string

String

object

Object

object

Object

object

Object

Do use a common name, such as value or item, rather than repeating the type name, in the rare cases when an identifier has no semantic meaning and the type of the parameter is not important.

Portions Copyright 2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Portions Copyright Addison-Wesley Corporation. All rights reserved.

For more information on design guidelines, see the "Framework Design Guidelines: Conventions, Idioms, and Patterns for Reusable .NET Libraries" book by Krzysztof Cwalina and Brad Abrams, published by Addison-Wesley, 2005.

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