TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Code Assets
Volume Number:10
Issue Number:2
Column Tag:Inside Information

Source Code Assets

Rewrite vs. Reuse

By Chris Espinosa, Apple Computer, Inc., MacTech Magazine Regular Contributing Author

A couple of issues ago I wrote about code reuse, and how developers who create multiple related products can save time and money by investing a little up front in good, reusable code. I stand by that idea, but a friend of mine in the development community has proposed a pretty audacious alternative.

Reusable design is great, he says, but the source code itself is expendable. You should plan to depreciate and replace your source code just like any other asset of your company, like office equipment.

For those of us who’ve grown up in the software business, this is a pretty radical idea, because of our attitude towards the preciousness of source code. Source code is the family jewels, it’s the secret recipe to how your application delivers its unique functionality. You keep it locked up; you don’t print listings in the manual; you make sure your competitors can’t get their hands on it. Otherwise, the logic goes, somebody will take your hard work and steal it. They’ll be able to deliver the benefits of your design and your algorigthms without the labor of inventing them, and not only take some of your market share and revenues, but profit more from it too.

This is reasonable, but it’s created a protectionist attitude towards source code. Obviously, anything that is of such value to your competitors must be of value to you, too. I remember a very old Peanuts comic strip where Lucy stands on one side of a closed door eating candy while Linus suffers on the other side of the door. She calls the candy “Spite Candy,” and admits that “the problem with Spite Candy is that it never tastes very good.”

The problem with holding on to the source code that’s the secret to your success is that it can hold you back. If you give them enough time, your competitors won’t need to abscond with your source; they will have written their own that’s designed better and implemented better, and they’ll take your customers rightfully.

This doesn’t mean you should rewrite your application from scratch every release. Of course you can’t; it’s too much work. And everybody knows that rewriting code can introduce bugs that take time to fix, or can disturb the backwards compatibility of the application. Nobody wants to explain that a feature in the last release works differently now because you “fixed” it.

But still, if your program has been on the market for a few years and there are other, newer competitors in your category, you have to do something other than just adding features and keeping up with the OS and hardware advances. Otherwise the “legacy” code in your application will weigh down the whole structure and decrease your ability to stay competitive.

The trick is to change your attitude about the source code. Treat it like your grandfather’s axe (as in the old saw: I still have the axe my grandfather used, though I’ve replaced the handle three times and the head once.) Institute a program of periodic refurbishing of the source, module by module, with the aim of having 100% turnover over a period of a few years. But do it a little at a time, so that the inevitable bugs you introduce can be isolated and fixed.

Focus on modernizing the code and improving the efficiency of each module. In doing this you may discover that some modules are the code equivalent of the appendix or tonsils: once useful, now annoying. You may see old code in a new light, and be able to swipe code from one product for use in another. And eventually you may get inspired on how to design a second-generation application, with an architecture that adds years of life to the application.

You have a unique and valuable asset in your source code. But you should do more with it than keep it locked up except when you’re sending it through the compiler for another minor rev. Though opening up long-closed source files is annoying and risky, you need to air it out every once in a while. Stop taking your assets for granted. Understand that if you leave it alone, it depreciates just like any other material object you own; but if you constantly refurbish and replace its source code, you can add years of marketable life to your application.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

OmniOutliner Pro 4.2 - Pro version of th...
OmniOutliner Pro is a flexible program for creating, collecting, and organizing information. Give your creativity a kick start by using an application that's actually designed to help you think. It's... Read more
VLC Media Player 2.2.1 - Popular multime...
VLC Media Player is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, MP3, OGG, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It... Read more
Nisus Writer Pro 2.1.1 - Multilingual wo...
Nisus Writer Pro is a powerful multilingual word processor, similar to its entry level products, but brings new features such as table of contents, indexing, bookmarks, widow and orphan control,... Read more
Tinderbox 6.2.0 - Store and organize you...
Tinderbox is a personal content management assistant. It stores your notes, ideas, and plans. It can help you organize and understand them. And Tinderbox helps you share ideas through Web journals... Read more
OmniOutliner 4.2 - Organize your ideas,...
OmniOutliner is a flexible program for creating, collecting, and organizing information. Give your creativity a kick start by using an application that's actually designed to help you think. It's... Read more
Things 2.5.4 - Elegant personal task man...
Things is a task management solution that helps to organize your tasks in an elegant and intuitive way. Things combines powerful features with simplicity through the use of tags and its intelligent... Read more
NeoOffice 2014.10 - Mac-tailored, OpenOf...
NeoOffice is a complete office suite for OS X. With NeoOffice, users can view, edit, and save OpenOffice documents, PDF files, and most Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. NeoOffice 3.x... Read more
iPhoto Library Manager 4.2 - Manage mult...
iPhoto Library Manager allows you to organize your photos among multiple iPhoto libraries, rather than having to store all of your photos in one giant library. You can browse the photos in all your... Read more
Web Snapper 3.3.8 - Capture entire Web p...
Web Snapper lets you capture Web pages exactly as they appear in your browser. You can send them to a file as images or vector-based, multi-page PDFs. It captures the whole Web page - eliminating the... Read more
TeamViewer 10.0.41404 - Establish remote...
TeamViewer gives you remote control of any computer or Mac over the Internet within seconds, or can be used for online meetings. Find out why more than 200 million users trust TeamViewer! Free for... Read more

Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night has...
It's time to put the Darkness back in its place now that Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night has officially made it to iOS. | Read more »
A World of Ice and Fire Lets You Stalk 2...
George R. R. Martin’s A World of Ice and Fire, by Random House, is a mobile guide to the epic series. The new update gives you the Journeys map feture that will let you track the movements of 25 different characters. But don't worry, you can protect... | Read more »
Gameloft Announces Battle Odyssey, a New...
Battle Odyssey, Gameloft's newest puzzle RPG, is coming to the App Store next week. Set in the world of Pondera, you will need to control the power of the elements to defend the world from evil. You'll be able to entlist over 500 allies to aid you... | Read more »
Fusion - HDR Camera (Photography)
Fusion - HDR Camera 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Fusion creates HDR (high dynamic range) photos by capturing different exposures and then combining them into one... | Read more »
Sago Mini Toolbox (Education)
Sago Mini Toolbox 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Come build with the Sago Mini friends! Use a wrench, try a saw, or hammer some nails. From sewing hand puppets to... | Read more »
You Should Probably Grab Hitman GO While...
Hitman GO is a surprisingly cool (yet also incredibly drastic) departure from the Hitman series. It's well worth playing for any puzzle game fans out there, and at the moment you can get your hands - or garrotte if you will - on it for a mere $0.99... | Read more »
IFTTT is Bringing Do Button and Do Note...
IFTTT has announced Do Button and Do Note for the Apple Watch. Do Button lets you make your own personalized button that can connect to things like your Google Drive, control the temperature in your home with Nest Thermostat, or turn the lights on... | Read more »
How Many Days, Hours, and Minutes Are Le...
Countdown, by Yves Tscherry, is now available on the App Store. The app keeps track of countdowns to your favorite things such as someones birthday or days till the New Year. You can display the time in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months,... | Read more »
The All-New Misfit 2.0 App is Available...
Misfit has just given their app a complete overhaul. Misfit 2.0 now has a brand new interface with a sleek design and is easier to navigate. You'll be able to sync your Misfit device and look up health and fitness information faster than ever before... | Read more »
Halo: Spartan Strike (Games)
Halo: Spartan Strike 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $5.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Delve into 30 challenging missions through cities and jungles using a devastating arsenal of weapons, abilities and... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

TigerText Introduces First Secure Enterprise...
TigerText, a provider of secure, real-time messaging for the enterprise, has announced the launch of TigerText for the Apple Watch. TigerText for the Apple Watch enables users to securely send and... Read more
The Conservation Fund Partners with Apple To...
The Conservation Fund has announced that it will partner with Apple to help protect working forests in the United States. The Apple initiative will conserve more than 36,000 acres of working... Read more
Clearance 13-inch 2.6GHz Retina MacBook Pro a...
B&H Photo has clearance 2014 13″ 2.6GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pros now available for $1099, or $200 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch Retina MacBook...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $400 off original MSRP, starting at $979. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
iMacs on sale for up to $205 off MSRP, NY tax...
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ iMacs on sale for up to $205 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 21″ 1.4GHz iMac: $1019 $80 off - 21″ 2.7GHz iMac: $1189 $110 off - 21″ 2.9GHz... Read more
Sale! 16GB iPhone 5S for $1 with service
Best Buy is offering 16GB iPhone 5Ss for $1.00 with 2-year activation at a participating cellular provider. Choose free home shipping and activation, or buy online and activate during in-store pickup... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs available...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs available starting at $679. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free. These are currently the... Read more
27-inch 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2349, sav...
 Adorama has the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac in stock today and on sale for $2349 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $150 off MSRP. For a limited time, Adorama will... Read more
Save up to $380 on an iMac with Apple refurbi...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $380 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac – $2119 $... Read more
iFixIt Teardown Awards 12-IInch Retina MacBoo...
iFixIt has posted its illustrated teardown of the new 12-inch MacBook Retina. They note that this new MacBook is less than half the thickness of the last Apple notebook called just “MacBook” back in... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Technical Project Manager - *Apple* Pay - A...
**Job Summary** Apple Pay is seeking an experienced technical PM to…manage the on boarding of new merchants for the Apple Pay platform in the US Within this role you Read more
Senior Identity Architect - *Apple* Pay - A...
**Job Summary** Apple , Inc. is looking for a highly motivated, innovative and hands-on senior identity architect to join the Apple Pay Engineering team. You will Read more
Program Manager, *Apple* Retail Global Tale...
…for the worldwide creation and implementation of the key talent development initiatives within Apple Retail. He or she will work closely with our Retail Corporate team, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.