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Programmers expect their code to live long and prosper

Phil Johnson | Aug. 21, 2015
A new survey of developers finds that they have a long life expectancy for their work but still can’t agree on what constitutes “legacy” code.

“Developers have very different opinions as to what legacy code is,” Klever told me, “and it will be very interesting to investigate whether your definition of legacy impacts how quickly you decide to throw away and rewrite a piece of code instead of debugging and fixing it.”

Asked for her own definition of legacy code, Klever told me “For me, code becomes legacy when continuing maintenance becomes more expensive than rebuilding/rewriting it. Whether this ‘tipping point’ is reached because of badly written code or outdated technology doesn't matter, these are all factors that contribute to code becoming legacy.”

I guess we can add “What makes code ‘legacy’?” to the list of things programmers like to argue about.

In any case, Klever will be sharing more results and insights from her survey this October at Leetspeak in Stockholm. She plans to publish her presentation and all of the poll results on her blog sometime after that. I look forward to seeing what other light her survey will shed on the life expectancy of software code.


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