Codebases is an ongoing work-in-progress by Information Is Beautiful.

It's essentially a linear scale of code, starting with things that have very little code and progressing to things with a lot.

Each horizontal line represents a new scale, from 1 million, to 5 million, to 10, to 25, 50, and 100 million lines of code.

And even if you can't code yourself, the data is a bit fascinating, isn't it?

How does Microsoft Office have so much more data in it than many living organisms, for instance?

And the graphic's not-so-subtle kicke, well, it's hilarious.

Infographic: How Many Lines Of Code Is Your Favorite App?

From Photoshop to the human genome, it's all made of code. So how many lines are inside the things we know best?

A military drone has 3.5 million lines of code inside. That’s roughly three times as many as we find in bacteria, meaning that mankind has, at least by one metric, constructed semi-autonomous machinery more complex than life itself.

It’s a fascinating topic to ponder, but even those of us who don’t know how to code can speak on the topic, thanks to this clean visualization by Information Is Beautiful. It’s a work-in-progress data visualization, built as a categorical list for easy updating.

Interestingly enough, you’ll note that software is not getting longer as time goes on. Windows Vista (2007), for instance, had 50 million lines of code, while Windows 7 shaved that figure down to 40 million. (It’s a metric revealing Windows 7’s efficiency, which was lauded for being a smaller install than Vista had been, and less taxing on a computer’s processors to boot.) Meanwhile, mobile operating systems like Android have been engineered as ultra lightweight, built from just over 10 million lines of code.

As for how Information Is Beautiful has subtly editorialized all this data, we won’t spoil the surprise. But be sure to read the graphic all the way to the bottom. The kicker is a doozy.

See more here.

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3 Comments

  • OliverRC

    As a developer, number of lines of code is a very vague measurement for anything. It really doesn't accurately measure anything.

  • anthonydpaul

    "Interestingly enough, you’ll note that software is not getting longer as time goes on."

    Well, it isn't fair to count interpreted lines of code if a compiler/interpreter is allowing for shorthand. Someone could create a new programming language that lets you write one line of code to execute an entire interpreted codebase that performs just as many operations as any of the above-mentioned applications. Over time, the intent is for our coding languages to become more human-readable and efficient in syntax—that doesn't mean less code is being executed.