Michael Dwan

What can you build with 600 lines of code?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What can you build with 600 lines of code? That is the question posed by Jeff Atwood over at CodingHorror.com (originally mentioned at JCooney.net). His post highlights how 37signals built Ta-da List, a simple online task list with only 579 lines of Ruby code.

You read that right, not 60K or 600K but instead a commercial project in < 600 lines of Ruby code.

I would agree that the amount of code may not be the best measure of success, however lines of code is a fairly reliable indication of complexity. The fact that a production ready application can be built with such a lack of complexity speaks volumes to the power and simplicity of Ruby and Rails. The ability to rapidly go from idea to production is the reason Ruby on Rails is a popular choice among web startups and entrepreneurs. Ruby on Rails is designed to abstract the developer from the mundane work and allow them to focus on what actually matters: building a product.

Thanks Jeff for pointing out a real world example of a minimalistic “KISS” approach to building a product.