Explained : Measuring Code
Measuring system for real world objects and code is different. Virtual system measuring metrices evolved over the years. But are they fit for today’s world?
Code measuring systems and metrices rely on quality and syntax of written code.
With Modern system hardware’s CPU’s speed increasing exponentially every year developers can run codes faster and computation are easier.
So, do we still need to measure the code same way we always did?
Real life measuring system:
In Real life everything we measure evolved from references. Weight, Volume, Height all unit of measurements are based on reference.
How do we calculate Height of 5 Meter?
The International System of Units (SI), commonly known as the metric system, is the international standard for measurement, The International Treaty of the Meter was signed in Paris on May 20, 1875 by seventeen countries, including the United States and is now celebrated around the globe as World Metrology Day.
So, if I know 1 Meter, 5 Meter is five times more, so 1 Meter is pure unit of measurement as per the treaty above.
Derived mathematical measurements.
Derived units are associated with derived quantities; for example, velocity is a quantity that is derived from the base quantities of time and length, and thus the SI derived unit is metre per second (symbol m/s). The dimensions of derived units can be expressed in terms of the dimensions of the base units.
So, for any measurement technique use references or baseline to determine how good or bad something is.
Virtual systems measurement:
There are several established standards in a computer system. E.g. – Memory size or standards unit of measure (MB, GB, TB). CPU speed is measure as number of cycles executed per second in GHz (gigahertz).
That brings me to the point what are the standards for code. Do we really have any measurement systems standards? Are they evolved to keep up with today’s world and should those be followed?
Let’s talk about Code Measuring Practises:
- Code Quality based.
- Code Performance based.
- Develop to Defect Ratio.
Quality based measurement is against standards set using best practices. In the programming world definition of quality is constantly evolving and can vary from market to market customer to customer.
Code Performance based:
Performance of code is to improve user experience, optimize code or computation time can be lower. In SAP world trace, runtime transaction analysis SAT, SE30, ST01, ST05, ST12 helps to measure performance.
Develop to Defect Ratio.
Customer business needs to run smoothly. Every piece of development vs number of defects raised is used to identify how good a code block is.
Any ERP customer in my experience uses several tools and governance to try and control code quality.
- Governance processes review mechanism of code.
- Code review tools SLIN and code inspector.
- Automated testing tools to reduce regression.
- Defect measurement.
- Early watch reports.
Even with all the above there are bad code / good code any systems, as the saying goes “Systems are as good as the one who maintain them”. Still human ingenuity is what matters the most when code quality and management is concerned.
Automated deployment and code reviews are not new anymore, code quality gate extended code inspector is a good way to reduce manual work and reduce errors.
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Let us try to define a system / process to use in measuring code in ERP Systems. For purpose of Simplicity I will call it “Code Measurement Index”.
A code measurement index is simply a point-based system. Averaging in multiple dimensions of code measurement for every application in the system.
This can be a simple customer program in ABAP that calculates this value for you to indicate how good or bad a system is. I use below parameters for this calculation. In this example I am using t-shirt sizing.
No of lines in a code block / code unit (Code unit can be as low as subroutines and high as the System itself).
|No of Lines||Scoring|
Inheritance: Any object-oriented codes measurement should be with number of inheritances.
Nested statements: Nested code statements like IF – ELSE block CASE ENDCASE.
SQL Time: X, Y Graph Y being no of records selected X time taken. Curve should be under 30 Degree to receive an optimize performance.
Like human intelligence measured in IQ. Code is not very different it’s almost like a living organism build from logic, mutating and evolving over time as we are.
So, measuring code cannot be simply in two dimensions. It has multiple dimensions and multiple parameters.
As systems are becoming more sophisticated and hardware’s faster everyday it is needed more than ever to ensure the code in those systems run more efficiently and easy to maintain.
The metrices for Code quality, performance etc are not going away but they can be simplified as they evolve but it is an ongoing process and different in different organization.
Lastly Keep your processes for code review and quality simple as always simple process always creates intelligent behaviour.