The Open UniversitySkip to content

Investigating naming convention adherence in Java references

Butler, Simon; Wermelinger, Michel and Yu, Yijun (2015). Investigating naming convention adherence in Java references. In: Proceedings of 2015 IEEE 31st International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME), IEEE, pp. 41–50.

Full text available as:
PDF (Proof) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (181kB) | Preview
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Naming conventions can help the readability and comprehension of code, and thus the onboarding of new developers. Conventions also provide cues that help developers and tools extract information from identifier names to support software maintenance. Tools exist to automatically check naming conventions but they are often limited to simple checks, e.g. regarding typography. The adherence to more elaborate conventions, such as the use of noun and verbal phrases in names, is not checked.

We present NOMINAL, a naming convention checking library for Java that allows the declarative specification of conventions regarding typography and the use of abbreviations and phrases. To test NOMINAL, and to investigate the extent to which developers follow conventions, we extract 3.5 million reference — field, formal argument and local variable — name declarations from 60 FLOSS projects and determine their adherence to two well- known Java naming convention guidelines that give developers scope to choose a variety of forms of name, and sometimes offer conflicting advice.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Copyright Holders: 2015 IEEE
ISBN: 1-4673-7532-2, 978-1-4673-7532-0
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Computing and Communications
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Computing (CRC)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 43372
Depositing User: Michel Wermelinger
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2015 09:51
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 20:21
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU