dotCMS short code inspection

Under the impression that I was welcome to further comment on the dotCMS  source code (see my post Programming vs. Flow steps), I created a brief inspection.

While the source code under scrutiny is dotCMS I’m positive that similar issues can be found in most other source code repositories, thus whether or not you are affiliated with dotCMS you could probably benefit from reading the report (it is a 30 page PDF created with DocBook).

As I created some graphs which don’t fit readable onto a page I uploaded them to my Dropbox as well.

Commit buddies

The conclusion:

Pointing fingers is easy. I hope I have not offended anyone at least it was the intention to only show some of the things which are wrong with a software project. And most likely what is wrong with most software projects.

I didn’t touch upon the more stringent theoretical issues with cyclic dependencies – of which I’m sure there are plenty based on what we saw in Chapter 2, Changes. Nor did I go into functional points, cyclomatic complexity, length of methods, combinatorial signatures, and others such code quality issues, as I find these to be too specific for the code base and there was plenty of other – more general – issues to look at.

The cost of software defects (see sourceninja) is immense. Here I have provided a brief overview of some of the low hanging fruits for remediating some of the issues in dotCMS. These methods are free of charge and generally applicable.

If  the  numbers  are  correct,  then  I’ve  spent  a  few  days  identifying  14  issues  worth  approximately $200,000 – and there are plenty more. Please don’t tell me that you don’t have the resources to go over the code base.

By the way, if I read the infographic correctly, then it is a yearly cost per defect until fixed.

It  could  be  that  it  is  not  your  money  you  are  saving,  but  someone  furhter  down  the  dependency hierarchy.

You may think that I’m just too shallow in my examination, that I don’t know the intricate details which make up the foundation for the decisions made. You would probably be right. I consider myself an average person with average skills – but does that change the results I have provided? It was never my intention to find and fix all bugs.

I’m all for the hard working people out there providing services for all of us, some of the services are even free. If I am that upset with dotCMS I could simply chose something different. While I could chose something different my point is: I don’t think it would be a better choice – merely a different one with bugs, errors, and warts in other places.

I might not even know whether or not I’m making a choice for or against one product or another, as e.g. dotCMS could be the foundation upon which other services are built.

This is a call to arms, people. Stop accumulating technical debt. Help keep the World a clean and sane place. The price today is high, but it is lower than it will be tomorrow.

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