PLC Program Development Guidelines

Good practice guideline for control programming
Published by Schneider Electric


Improve control code quality and conformity for greater maintainability

As PLCs become more and more capable, the applications written for them are also becoming increasingly complex. In order to help ensure an easier management of these PLC applications along the software lifecycle, a first simple step can be to introduce a coding guideline to follow during program development and maintenance. By following a guideline from the beginning of development, it can help improve the readability and maintainability of the PLC applications, as well as the consistency within large installed bases.

Schneider Electric has created this PLC Program Development Guideline, based on good practice programming rules, as a guide for any type of user from any industry segment looking to implement coding quality requirements for their control code developments. Put together by an experienced team over the last 20 years and inspired by best practices coming from other computer engineering domains, it describes simple rules that allow the user to get meaningful quality indicators from the first day of development.

The programming guideline described in this document can also be found as the default rules set that is available within EcoStruxure™ Control Engineering – Verification, a static analysis tool for PLC programs, to verify that a PLC program respects the guideline and to measure the code quality.

PLC Program Development Guidelines


Starting point for implementing code quality requirements

  • A number of industry standards now highly recommend defining and following coding rules.
  • Guideline can be used as base of generic good programming practices for PLC code that can be followed as is or that can be adapted and built upon for a particular use case.
  • The programming rules are based on a mix of programming conventions and metrics.

Universal guidelines for PLC programming

  • Suitable for any make & model of PLC.
  • Suitable for any industry segment.
  • Suitable for any type of user.

Improve PLC code quality

  • Through using good programming practices, the code will be of greater quality and less complex.
  • Greater code quality also equals improved readability, efficiency, and maintainability.

Ensure consistency of large installed bases

  • By following the same coding standard across all developments, a large installed base will be more consistent and therefore easier to maintain.
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