Consistency makes a difference, and 87.9% difference

I was recently comparing two systems.  Here are the commonalities of the systems:

  • .Net 3.5
  • C#
  • SQL Server 2005
  • 2 tiers, multi-layered

Here are the stats for System A

  • 227 distinct screens (pages)
  • 176,510 lines of code

Here are the stats for System B

  • 234 distinct screens
  • 23,724 lines of code

Size difference? 87.9%

These are both line-of-business applications.  Why such the big difference in lines of code?

Answer:  consistency & architecture

Both systems are very successful and meet the needs of the business, so it’s not a matter of bad/good.


I don’t have time to do a full analysis of the causal relationship (I don’t know what that would be), but this is very interesting to me.  Increased lines of code means increased Total Cost of Ownership.  I have an incentive to deliver functionality using the least amount of code.  I don’t get this by combining lines of code but by applying architectural principles to eliminate code duplication and increase reuse.

Credit:  Thanks to Eric Hexter for pulling these numbers.