Jason Deacon Team : Web Development Tags : Technology Programming

Standards and Conventions: Why bother?

Jason Deacon Team : Web Development Tags : Technology Programming

No, this blog doesn't attempt to convince you of the uselessness of conventions or standards, relax.

Before going any further it's important to clarify what those words mean.

Convention: an unspoken agreement among a group of people on how to do something.

Standard: a somewhat detailed agreement on how to do something

It might seem like these things are the same, but they're not, let me elaborate;


Conventions naturally occur in team environments when people start doing things the same way without any real discussion or agreement in any 'formal' capacity. Conventions can be expected, but not required.

For example, it's a convention that developers at Wiliam use c:\dev as their root project directory, so that's the first place to look when working on someone else's machine. However it could be anywhere and we have some devs who place it in d:\dev\ instead. We have no policies in place to state where these directories should go, so it's a convention.

Conventions are also typically geographically localised, meaning that their scope only typically extends to a single workplace as differing workplaces may have different conventions addressing the same subject.


Standards are things which are discussed and agreed upon even if some members of the team don't actively approach tasks in the agreed way, but will after the standard is put in place.

Often standards (in the context of programming) are defined or outlined by organisations such as Microsoft or the IEEE, and by adopting those standards internally it can make life much easier because things start becoming much more interoperable.

What are you rambling about?

Okay so here's the point of this blog; Both conventions and standards are critical in fast-moving web agencies like Wiliam and are only getting more important as the amount of technology we utilise on a day to day basis increases almost weekly.

If the company you work at has too many people doing their own thing and it takes you hours to get setup on a new project then it's time to integrate some standards or at least get all the devs using the same conventions!