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Brilliant! Many great comments, although some still don't realise, that code (in the strict sense) is actually a liability. I think the confusion stems from the fact, that you typically write code for some benefits. The features and new options you have gained by writing the code are the real assets. Code was required to obtain them, but itself is only burden and maintaining it costs. It is pure liability. Could I get these benefits without it, I wouldn't think twice. Here we go to the core of the problem: many useful things just cannot be achieved without writing some code. Then I can only try hard to write it in a maintainable fashion and constantly keep it in a good shape. That will at least assure me, that I'm not paying too much for the features I gained. But again, it is a cost to factor code in an optimal way. And even then the code costs - at least the time required to read it. So when its relative value is not that high, I prefer to delete it. One thing, that particularly costs in code's maintainance is that you have to update it whenever one of its dependencies change. The fact, that code has dependencies additionally limits the overall flexibility of the codebase. Those dependencies cannot be freely modified to not break their clients. To sum up, 'if we wish to count lines of code, we should not regard them as "lines produced" but as "lines spent"' (Dijkstra)
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May 18, 2011