Since the dawn on time...

One issue has caused more disagreement, more strife, and more bloodshed than any other. It has torn families apart, pitted brother against brother and father against son. I'm speaking, of course, about code formatting.

I'm sure we all have our own personal stories. My family has the infamous Christmas Incident of '86, when my mother and paternal grandfather almost came to blows, the turkey wound up in the snow and my grandfather was taken away in handcuffs.

The problem is that code formatting is a religious issue. People are deeply committed to their own style of formatting, and everyone is convinced that their style is objectively superior to any other.

But if some style really is objectively superior, we should be able to measure that - people should be able to read it faster and understand it better.

I've got a short test that attempts to measure the relative effectiveness of two brace placement styles:


      if (condition) {            if (condition)
          action();               {
      }                               action();
                                  }

You'll be presented with three simple code snippets and asked to determine the result. The code is in a generic C-like language. It is not written to be fast or efficient or easy to understand, but it isn't intentionally tricky, either. The snippets all do something recognizable - something you might be asked in a job interview. Each snippet will be randomly formatted in one style or the other. You'll be graded on accuracy and speed.

Please don't cheat. Take the test only once. Don't try to execute the code to get the answer. Don't write down the answers and give them to your friends.