Living Code

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I’m sure someone, somewhere, has already done a dissertation on this, but I’ve often thought it would be interesting to look at the code of a project as if it was a living, growing thing.

You’d analyze the changes made over time to a piece of code to visualize how it becomes better, breaks, corrects, expands and ultimately dies or gets recycled refactored, as well as the people making those changes, how long it took to make the changes, the number of changes on any given day, or possibly daily trends. Does more get fixed on a monday? Do more fixes made on friday end up getting reverted and fixed again later (for obvious reasons <g>). How many changes are made on wednesdays after that big fajita lunch?

I have this mental picture of my project visually changing over time, allowing you to see things that you couldn’t see just by looking at tables and metrics. Imagine being able to look at a time-lapse video of the creation of the Grand Canyon, from, oh say 30million years back to the present, in a video of a few minutes. Or a bit like this guy’s video (taking pictures of himself everyday for 6 years or so).

But in my head the picture is a little prettier, may something like this: 

And many, probably too many, projects would be more like this:


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