A code style guide is a set of rules, standards, or best practices that outline how your team should write, format, and organize the source code. In an ideal world, your team’s source code should look like it was written by a single person, even if hundreds of developers collaborated on it.
Being consistent with a style guide makes your code easier to read, debug, and maintain. It is also smoother to add new features or update legacy code, and new developers have an easier integration with the team.
Many programming languages have more than one recommended style guide, and Python is no exception. To help you get started, here are 3 of the most popular style guides for Python that will help your team write code in a consistent way and improve your coding standards.
PEP 8 – Style Guide for Python Code
Python has an excellent style guide called PEP 8 that covers most situations you and your team will find while writing Python. You can use it with PEP 257, which focuses on semantics and conventions associated with Python docstrings.
PEP 8 presents guidelines on naming Python objects, how to structure your code, when to include comments and whitespaces, and some general programming recommendations. This style guide will allow you to have consistency in your Python code, making it easier for everyone in your teams to understand and contribute to the codebase.
However, PEP 8 is a generic Python guideline rather than strict rules that you should follow since it allows different approaches to achieve similar goals. So you’ll need to make sure that everyone in your team follows the same approach in the first place.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Python
If you are looking for a community-driven style guide, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Python is the one for you. However, remember that it might not always be updated and accurate since it depends on the community who writes it.
This style guide aims to give novice and expert Python developers a best practice handbook for installing, configuring, and using Python. It includes recommendations for structuring your project and guidelines for code style, documentation, testing, logging, and more.
Google Python Style Guide
The Google Python Style Guide defines the coding standards used at Google. This style guide has two parts, one focusing on language rules (conventions and coding standards) and the other on style rules (aesthetic formatting issues). It’s a great guide if you have a big team with many developers actively working on a large codebase.
There is also a formatter for Python files called yapf that your team can use to avoid arguing over formatting conventions. Plus, Google also provides a settings file for Vim, noting that the default settings should be enough if you're using Emacs.
When you’re working in a large team with other developers, everyone will have their style of writing code because no two developers write code the same way. If you’ve got different developers writing code differently, your codebase will be almost impossible to understand. Also, onboarding new developers might be harder, as they won’t know the best approach to use.
This is where style guides come to the rescue. A style guide is a set of rules that developers follow when writing their code to ensure consistency among developers. In this article, we’ve covered 3 Python style guides your team can use in your Python projects.
Share your favorite Python style guide with us, and let’s keep the conversation going in our community.