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Big Code: Software Codebases Explode in Volume and Complexity

By Dick Weisinger

Software technology seems to know no bounds and continues to grow rapidly in almost every field. The result is that the complexity and volume of code is growing dramatically. Similar to ‘Big Data’, the trend is being called ‘Big Code’.

Big code is affecting software teams in the following ways:

  • Volume – The amount of code managed by teams is growing rapidly
  • Variety – The number of kinds of code and the origin of the code is growing (different utilities, libraries, languages, tools, etc.) and adding complexity
  • Velocity – Accelerated development and delivery cycles
  • Value – The quality of code and the value that it brings the business is increasing

Quinn Slack, co-founder and CEO of Sourcegraph, said that “today’s massive codebases make it difficult for developers to discover, understand, and fix code because of the significant increase in its volume and complexity. It’s for this reason that Big Code is often compared to Big Data—both have the potential to disrupt teams, decrease productivity and quality, and make it harder for enterprises to stay competitive. Code shows no signs of slowing down, so it’s critical that developers have tools that empower them to navigate the challenges associated with Big Code.”

Some of the problems that developer teams are experiencing with large amounts of code include tools that haven’t kept pace with being able to handle the size of the codebase and the need for automatic tools to scan codebases that look for security and compliance risks.

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