This is a relatively new one for me, but I find the posts pretty interesting from time to time.
This is the team blog from the group responsible for Microsoft Office for the Mac. Most people don’t realize this, but Microsoft Office actually originated on the Mac, and despite all the conspiracy theories, the business continues to be a fairly large one for Microsoft.
For example, check out this post from yesterday about the size of the Microsoft Office for Mac codebase. It shocked the hell out of me:
30 million lines of code. For a suite of applications. Unbelievable.
For those of you non-technical folks out there, this is a really big number. I remember when it was revealed that Windows XP was approximately 40 million lines of code, and Sun had a field day pointing out that Solaris was only 7 million at the time.
In software, bigger is rarely better from a complexity or reliability standpoint. This blog post explains some of the very human reasons why.
I personally have always believed that a complete rewrite is likely necessary from time to time with software applications, usually every 3rd to 4th major version or so. The problem is, the economics so rarely support re-writing a codebase. The time you spend rebuilding what already works could be spent on building new features, or fixing old ones.
In a small way, this legacy cost is what helps fuel the ongoing development of new applications, new companies, and new businesses. It is always easy for the new entrant to “rebuild” what already exists. This doesn’t make up for the incredible market advantage that the large players have, but it’s an interesting cost advantage that you don’t normally see in most industries.
Anyway, check it out. Since I am a longtime Office for Mac user, I like seeing ongoing communication from their team to the community.