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Comp.software-eng FAQ (Part 1): questions and answers
Section - Are lines-of-code (LOC) a useful productivity measure?

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Date: 24 Feb 1998
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Not unless you are very careful.  Capers Jones' book has a detailed and
insightful discussion of Lines of Code, including anomalies, and shows how to
use it sensibly (eg in a single job shop, with a single language, and a
standard company coding style).  It is easy to cook up anomalies where LOC
gives different numbers for code written in different styles, but pathological
cases should get caught in code inspections.  References:
-    T. Capers Jones, Programming Productivity, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1986
-    Capers Jones, Applied Software Measurement: Assuring Productivity and
     Quality, McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1991, 494 pages ISBN 0-07-032813-7

The appendices of the latter give rules for counting procedural source code,
as well as rules for counting function points and feature points.  The
following study, cited in Boehm's _S_o_f_t_w_a_r_e _E_n_g_i_n_e_e_r_i_n_g _E_c_o_n_o_m_i_c_s, claims that
anomalies that seriously "fool" the LOC metric show up rarely in real code.
-    R. Nelson _S_o_f_t_w_a_r_e _D_a_t_e _C_o_l_l_e_c_t_i_o_n _a_n_d _A_n_a_l_y_s_i_s _a_t _R_A_D_C, Rome Air
     Development Center, Rome, NY.  1978.


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Next Document: Should software professionals be licenced/certified?

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