My Secret Life as a Spaghetti Coder
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If you get too smart, you start to think a lot. And when you think a lot, your mind explores the depths of some scary places. If you're not careful, your head could explode.

In The Butterfly Effect, Ashton Kutcher's head could have exploded from the number of choices he could make when exploring the depths of his brain.

So to combat the effects of increasing intelligence due to reading books like The Mythical Man Month and Code Complete, I'm careful about maintaining a subscription to digg/programming in my feed reader. Incidentally, this tactic is also useful in preemptive head explosion. However, this second type of explosion is usually caused by asininity, as opposed to the combinatorial explosion due to choices you gain from reading something useful.

This man's head exploded, and had to be put back together with duct tape.

Reading digg/programming is how I came across Ohloh.

As Matt Marshall writes in VentureBeat,
Ohloh, a company that ranks the nation's top open source coders, is opening its service to let other developers to track and rank their own teams. [Strong emphasis is mine.]

It's the latest move by Ohloh, a Bellevue, WA company that already distributes its coder profiles and related data to about 5,000 open source sites. The Ohloh profiles can serve as advertising for these sites, because the profiles show how active their open source development projects are.

Here's how it works. Ohloh ranks individual coders by tracking their activity. Ohloh can do this because open source projects publish their code, along with a record of updates each coder makes. Ohloh exploits this publicly available information and analyzes which coders are the most active in making key contributions to the most important open source projects. It assigns them a "KudoRank" to each coder between 1 (poor) through 10 (best).


Teams now have access to Ohcount - "a source code line counter" that "identifies source code files in most common programming languages, and prepares total counts of code and comments."

Unfortunately, since Ohcount helps power the normal Ohloh website, I'd bet it can track commits and lines of code by committer.

As is well known to many people, if you want something done, measure it. In this case, presumably you want more lines of code.

O RLY? Are you sure about that?

The trouble is that lines of code is not a relevant indicator of productivity, so tracking it per developer may not tell you what you think it's going to tell you.

And what makes measuring lines of code per developer (and saying more == better) completely stupid is that program size is code's worst enemy. You'll end up doing the opposite of what you intended.

Still, Ohloh has some interesting stats for you to look at. And you know you want to be ranked #1.

Thoughts?


Hey! Why don't you make your life easier and subscribe to the full post or short blurb RSS feed? I'm so confident you'll love my smelly pasta plate wisdom that I'm offering a no-strings-attached, lifetime money back guarantee!


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