Code is a liability, not an asset

I loved this quote from the book Software Engineering at Google. Found it a helpful reminder.

Earlier we made the assertion that “code is a liability, not an asset.” If that is true, why have we spent most of this book discussing the most efficient way to build software systems that can live for decades? Why put all that effort into creating more code when it’s simply going to end up on the liability side of the balance sheet? Code itself doesn’t bring value: it is the functionality that it provides that brings value. That functionality is an asset if it meets a user need: the code that implements this functionality is simply a means to that end. If we could get the same functionality from a single line of maintainable, understandable code as 10,000 lines of convoluted spaghetti code, we would prefer the former. Code itself carries a cost — the simpler the code is, while maintaining the same amount of functionality, the better.

3 thoughts on “Code is a liability, not an asset

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: