[squeak] Re: SLOC in Squeak History

Sam Adams ssadams at us.ibm.com
Tue May 11 05:45:09 UTC 2004

Steve Burbeck gathered a lot of metrics on Digitalk Smalltalk years ago.
We had lots of discussions about the squidgy issues mentioned.
We decided to measure message sends per method, which over the entire image
averaged to 6.  In most cases these methods where less that 6 lines long,
including method header, comments and blank lines.

I've seen lots of really long methods in Squeak as opposed to Digitalk
Smalltalk, but I would bet the average is still around those numbers.  The
really interesting thing about that figure is that it almost guarantees
that the vast majority of methods will be readable at a glance, assuming
the programmer used decent naming practices.

Another interesting observation about the nature of Smalltlak code is the
environmental impact of nearly all method code being written in a browser
with a relatively small edit pane.  Since you can see most method source at
a glance in the browser without scrolling, you tend to write methods that
way, too.  This "above the fold" influence of the design of the IDE has had
a huge impact on the inherent simplicity of most Smalltalk code, though it
was probably an artifact of low res displays and the desire to have several
windows/browsers visible at once, IMHO.


Sam S. Adams, IBM Distinguished Engineer, IBM Research
tie line 444-0736, outside 919-254-0736, email: ssadams at us.ibm.com
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