AMUSE Style Guide

This Style Guide covers the source code written in the AMUSE project. The source of the existing codes, integrated into AMUSE, do not have to follow this guide. Existing codes are not rewritten.

Python Code

All python code should be consistent with the Python Style Guide. We have defined some deviations from the python style guide. These are listed in this document.

Maximum Line Length

Limit most lines to a maximum of 79 characters.

Some lines may be longer than 79 characters, especially when this increased readability. When you need to define a class with a long name, having a superclass with a long name, a line with more than 79 characters is OK.

For example:

class NeedsALongNameToDescribeItsFunction (AComplicatedNameForTheSuperClass):

Is better than:

class NeedsALongNameToDescribeItsFunction \


class NeedsALongNameToDescribeItsFunction (
Naming Conventions

Naming the classes and methods in the code is very important. However, do not spend too much time on naming. Use long names. Use a longer name when a shorter name cannot be determined quickly. When you’ve defined a very long name, it’s use may be harder. When it is used a lot, a refactoring to shorter name will present itself. When it is not used a lot, at least the class or method is described better in the longer name.

Do not use abbreviations in names. Especially, do not use the first three or four letters of a word (for example, dir for directory or ref for reference). Also, do not remove the vowels to shorten a name (for example tmp for temp).

The following one letter variables are allowed.

  • Loop variables, when used as for x in ..., names allowed are ‘x’ and ‘y’. Example:

    for x in stars:
        print x.mass
  • Loop index variables, when used as for i in range(10):, only name allowed is ‘i’. Thus when writing a loop in a loop, you need to use longer names. For example, to iterate over every item in a 10 by 5 table, do:s:

    for row in range(10):
    for column in range(5):

    print table[row][column]

These names are only allowed in short loops of maximum 6 lines. Longer loops need better names. Also, for looping over row indices and column indices use row and column.

C / C++ code

All C and C++ code should be consistent with the Google C++ style guid

File Names

All C++ files should have a .cc suffix.

Naming Conventions

We follow the Python style for naming function names. Function names are all lowercase, with underscores between words.

Fortran code

All Fortran code written in AMUSE should be Fortran 90. We will follow the coding standard given in Fortran Coding Standard for the Community Atmospheric Model

File Names

All fortran 90 files should have a .f90 suffix.


Source code should follow the “free form” fortran 90. Do not use the “fixed form” fortran 77 layout.


Use indentation to highlight the block structure of your code:

FUNCTION example(arg1)
    REAL  :: arg1, example
    example = arg1 * 2.0

Use 4 character to indent the code.