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What is a Hungarian Notation?

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  • Written By: Troy Holmes
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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Software programming languages have specific rules and writing styles similar to modern languages. Computer programming is made up of variable types, which represent numbers, characters, and strings. Hungarian notation is a style of writing within a computer program that requires the prefix of each variable to define the type of variable being used. This is followed by a capitalized letter and variable name.

Most computer programs use keyboards to capture input from the user. This captured input is divided into varying types of data. Hungarian notation is a software coding style that defines the data type as a prefix before the name. This is a formal style that contains defined formats for each type of variable with a specific abbreviation.

Programming style rules are typically determined when a software development project begins. Hungarian notation includes a dictionary of defined types and style rules for the software programs. If a development team chooses this notation style, it is important to ensure consistency in all future program modifications.

A software program should be easy to read and understand. This is accomplished by using a programming style that is consistent and intuitive. Hungarian notation is an example of a programming style that is easy to interpret because it follow strict rules based on defined standards.

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Today there are many styles for writing software programs. This includes documentation techniques, indention rules and software writing styles. Hungarian notation is an example of a coding style or preference. Mixing coding styles within a single program is considered bad practice and should be avoided at all costs.

Mathematical data types include multiple forms of numbers. Some examples include integers, long numbers, and double numbers. The Hungarian notation requires a variable to first be prefixed with a type identifier. As an example any variable name for an integer would begin with the small letter “i,” which identifies the variable as an integer type.

This style of programming has a few disadvantages. Defining variables based on types makes the variables fixed. If a change is requested in the system that requires a data type to change, the name of the variable would also require modification. This could become a daunting task for large complex software programs.

Another disadvantage to Hungarian notation is the absence of automated validation rules. This style of writing is not checked by the compiler, which makes it prone to misuse and mistakes. Developers will need to self police the writing style of the program to ensure consistency.

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