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11. Objective-C > Project Management and Legacy Software

Project Management and Legacy Software

You’ve said that a programmer can maintain about half a box of paper.

Tom: That’s right. I’m involved in a lot of projects with the federal government these days. It’s amazing how helpful that one little fact turns out to be. 100,000 lines of code is a box of printout. It cost $3 million to develop. It takes two people to maintain it. The number of test cases to fully test that box of code is another two or three boxes of code.

Is that independent of language?

Tom: Almost. It seems to hold true across the object-oriented languages at least. In a moderate object-oriented language, it actually takes more people testing than writing code, because the languages are powerful enough. I’m dealing with a project right now with three-quarters of a million lines of code, and more than half of the code was acquired externally. This is not even anything close to leading-edge technology, actually. Looked at from that perspective, if you said, “I’m going to have one tester for every programmer,” you would wildly underestimate the real effort that’s required, because the programmer is actually bringing in a lot of untested code from the outside that, in ....


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