Krugle Code Search Stats or How to Write a Press Release

Just how... creative is your code?

The press release feed on LinuxMagazine.com occasionally turns up some gems — as far as headlines go — that can’t help but catch your eye. This morning, I had a tough time missing this: Britney Spears Beats Out Paris Hilton in Open Source Code Popularity (Although Neither Holds Candle to Satan)

My first thought was that this was probably the most well written piece of PR spam I’d ever. It’s something of an OSS, sex, and occult cocktail. Knowing this audience the only way the headline could have possibly been better is if they had worked in a quote from Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. I fully expected to see a Viagra ad when I clicked on this, but it turns out to be a real release.

The press release is from Krugle, who’s enterprise product allows companies to turn “code and related development assets into a searchable, shareable asset.” In the release they, “thought [they would] have some fun and look to see what Java terms are searched for the most and how often open source developers include celebrity names in their code.” Not to spoil the surprise but Kunth came in first, with Satan right behind (playing second fiddle after one God or another seems to be his lot in life).

The problems that Krugle, as company, are addressing — access to code, code quality, and making sense of the reams and reams of open source software available — are something that seems to be minds of vendors and tech department managers more and more these days. Just recently we’ve seen the launch of the Google Ajax source code browser as well as a web-based port of Guido Van Rossum’s Python code review tool, Mondrian1.

In looking at some of these tools you get a sense that they are responding to the notion that no formal process for programming really exists. I suppose it could be because of that lack of process that Krugle is able to drop a press release on wacky variable names.

I got to thinking about the code I write — and I do write a quite a bit — and for whatever reason I don’t really do anything quite as colorful as Krugle was able to pull from their search results. No celebrity variable names, no Klingon function calls. Other than a dash of profanity in the comments — ala // TODO: Fix this ******* thing! — the code I write is remarkably bland. About as entertaining as it gets are my absurdly long, descriptive function names.

What about you? Do you find yourself tempted to write light_side() and dark_side() functions? Do your BruceWayne classes have is_batman() bools? Or does this sort of thing leave a bad taste in your mouth? Have examples? Wrap it in <code> tags when you post a comment.

1One wonders how Mondrian would take to multiple occurrences of ParisHilton (or $ParisHilton, for the PHP developers in the audience) popping in and out of a codebase like a club-hopping debutante.

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