Formatting Rules

The code style conventions used in the project are based on the style-guide defined of Fedora-3. They should prevent commits cluttered with format changes.

Here are the major rules:

  1. Four space indents for Java, and 2-space indents for XML. NO TABS
  2. K&R style braces

    if (code) {
      // code
    } else {
      // code
  3. Do not use wildcard imports
  4. Write Javadocs for public methods and classes. Keep it short and to the point
  5. Avoid public instance variables; use accessors
  6. Use public methods sparingly; implementation details are not public
  7. Maximum length of lines is 120 characters.
  8. Create Javadocs for types of at least the following descriptivity

     * @author Joe Developer
     * @since MMM DD, YYYY
    public class MyClass
  9. Each source file should contain a license header much like the following:

     * Copyright 2015 DuraSpace, Inc.
     * Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
     * you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
     * You may obtain a copy of the License at
     * Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
     * distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
     * WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied.
     * See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
     * limitations under the License.

    Use the maven-license-plugin to check for and add missing headers:

    Check for missing headers
    mvn license:check
    Add missing headers
    mvn license:format

IDE Setups

IDE settings are located in the project source. IDE users are strongly recommended to apply these formatting settings.


We're in the process of adding checkstyle enforcement to our modules (meaning, if you violate some of the major style rules, the build will fail).

To check for violations, run the following command:

mvn checkstyle:check
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  1. There is some impedance mismatch between the Eclipse formatter rules and Checkstyle.

    For example, per Feature Request #934551 (which has been open for over a year), Checkstyle doesn't allow for a "throws" declaration that has wrapped to a new line to be indented further than the method body:

    Checkstyle formatting
    public LegacyMethod(final Event jcrEvent, final Node resource)
            throws RepositoryException {

    But Eclipse (and the standard Java Code Conventions) prefer a further indenting:

    Eclipse formatting
    public LegacyMethod(final Event jcrEvent, final Node resource)
                 throws RepositoryException {

    The workaround in Eclipse is a hack if you have save actions defined (i.e. Eclipse will re-format your changed lines according to your settings, despite your efforts to manually adjust formatting to match the checkstyle requirements):

    1. "Correct" the indentation as required by Checkstyle.
    2. Save. Eclipse will automatically reformat the line back, removing the correction you just made.
    3. Undo.
    4. Save.
  2. Thanks, Edwin Shin. I was just about to write a message asking this very question.