Friday, 30 October 2015


Why should you bother with standards? Maybe a couple of illsutrations are in order: consider a finance database that has a table called "Account", a query called "Accounts", a form called called "Account" and a report called "Accounts". Pretty confusing already, isn't it? Now try referring to these items in code, and you'll see what a nightmare naming can be. Alternatively, think of a form you've created without changing any of the control names - in six months time are you going to be able to easily tell TextBox8 from TextBox9, or ComboBox13 from ComboBox31?

Wouldn't it be a whole lot easier to adopt a naming convention that enables you to know what something is just from its name? Well, there are numerous naming conventions out there, the most popular of which, from an Access perspective at least, is the Leszynski/Reddick VBA naming conventions, a copy of which can be found in Word format here. You'll find the code samples on this site loosely conform to these standards. Like many developers, I use the subset of these standards that works for me, and I expect you'll do the same.

Anyway, regardless of whether you buy into the Leszynski/Reddick conventions or define your own, here are some general pointers on standards:

  • even if you define your own, use some sort of standard and stick to it - you'll thank me for this later. It's more important to work to a standard - any standard - than to adhere slavishly to a particular standard.
  • document your conventions so that others may follow your work. If you use an existing convention, reference it in your application's documentation.
  • don't use spaces in object names - concatenate words instead, and use capitalisation to make things clear (e.g. use "CustomerDetails" instead of "Customer details"). apply your convention as you go along - backtracking over your database to rename all objects is no fun, and mistakes are easily made, even with third-party "search-and-replace" tools.

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