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Style Guide

Any contributions to the firmware should adhere to the following style guidelines.

White Space and Line Endings

Please try not to commit anything that only changes white space or line endings. To check if that's going to happen, run git diff --check before you stage your files. Git will warn you about obnoxious changes. Please fix them.

Code Style

The following ROSflight code style is based on the ROS C++ style guide. ROSflight uses the C++11 standard.


Indentation should be 2 spaces (no tabs). Case statements in switch blocks should not be indented, e.g.

switch (variable)
case 1:
  // do something


Braces should be placed on the next line, e.g.

if (i > 2)
  // do stuff
  // do something else

For a conditional with only one statement, the braces can be omitted but the statement should be indented:

if (i > 2)
  x = 3;


There should be a space between if, for, or while and the condition, e.g. while (true), not while(true).

Naming Conventions

  • Class names should be capitalized with no spaces (i.e. StateManager).
  • Member variables should contain a post-pended underscore (i.e. data_).
  • Member functions should be all lower case with underscores (i.e. set_error()).
  • Integer types should be defined using the cstdint convention (i.e. uint8_t, int64_t, float, ...).
  • Boolean values should be assigned true or false, not 0 or 1.

Function Arguments

Primitive data types (int, float, etc.) should always be passed by value. Other types (e.g. classes) should be passed by reference and should maintain proper const-correctness. Arguments that are modified by the function should be passed by pointer instead of reference, to make the fact that the argument will be changed clearer in the calling code. For example:

void do_something(float dt, const MyClass& data, int* output);

This function would be called as

float dt = 0.01f;
MyClass my_class;
int value;

do_something(dt, my_class, &value);

This makes it clear the value is modified by the function call.


All modules should be defined as a self-contained class. All member variables should be declared as "private," named with a post-pended underscore, and accessed through inline accessor functions. All accessible data should be encapsulated in a struct. For example, here is a snippet from the Sensors module in the firmware:

class Sensors
  struct Data
    vector_t accel = {0, 0, 0};
    vector_t gyro = {0, 0, 0};
    float imu_temperature = 0;
    uint64_t imu_time = 0;

    float diff_pressure_velocity = 0;
    float diff_pressure = 0;
    float diff_pressure_temp = 0;
    bool diff_pressure_valid = false;

    float baro_altitude = 0;
    float baro_pressure = 0;
    float baro_temperature = 0;
    bool baro_valid = false;

    float sonar_range = 0;
    bool sonar_range_valid = false;

    vector_t mag = {0, 0, 0};

    bool baro_present = false;
    bool mag_present = false;
    bool sonar_present = false;
    bool diff_pressure_present = false;

  Sensors(ROSflight& rosflight);

  inline const Data& data() const { return data_; }

  Data data_;

Note that data_ is a private member variable, but the Data struct is declared publicly and data_ is accessed through an inline const accessor to prevent another module from changing data_.


Enums should be declared using the following style:

enum ArmedState

The name of the enum should be in CamelCase, and the names of its members should be ALL_CAPS. Where practical, have the members of the enum begin with the name of the enum.


Structs should be declared using the following style:

struct SomeValue
  int v1;
  int v2;
Struct type names should be in CamelCase.


The use of global variables should be limited to when absolutely necessary (such as linking to interrupt routines or hardware peripherals). This should only occur in board support layers and not in the core ROSflight libary code.

Include Order

Include files at the top of your file in the following order:

  1. Standard library (e.g. <cstdint>)
  2. Files from external libraries included in the project (e.g. <breezystm32/breezystm32.h>, <mavlink/v1.0/common/mavlink.h>)
  3. Other header files from this project (e.g. "rosflight.h")
  4. The header file for this specific source file

Group the includes according to the above list with an empty line between each group. (For external libraries, you may subdivide group 2 into a group for each library.) The first two groups should use angle brackets (<>), and the last two groups should use quotation marks (""). Files from external libraries should be namespaced by the library name (e.g. <breezystm32/breezystm32.h>, not <breezystm32.h>).

Alphabetize the files within each group. Do not change the include order to fix build errors; if you have to do that it means you are not including a file somewhere that you should. Please fix it by including all the right files.

Include C standard library headers using the C++ style (#include <cmath>) instead of the C style (#include <math.h>).

For example, in sensors.c I might have:

#include <cstdbool>
#include <cstdint>

#include <breezystm32/breezystm32.h>
#include <breezystm32/drv_mpu6050.h>

#include "param.h"

#include "sensors.h"


All modules in the firmware should be encapsulated in the rosflight_firmware namespace. This prevents name-clashing in SIL compilation.