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24 June 2009 @ 09:57 am
Whence came "codebase"?  
The word "codebase" has been bugging me lately.  I've noticed myself using it, and it's starting to grate on me.

It appears to mean a collection of computer code, from an implementation perspective.  Users of the word might refer to the "foo-1.0 codebase" as opposed to the "foo-2.0 codebase, where we totally rewrote everything".

Assuming that this is what the word means, it's a useful one.  However, where did this word come from, and when?   Does it have a more precise meaning, or has it spread across the internet with the rough (but useful) meaning above?

The only definitions I can find are within Wikipedia or Wictionary (neither of which I'm a fan of).  I don't see it in the Jargon File either (but ditto, frankly).  It also seems to have a (different) specific meaning for Java applets, and is the name of a proprietary database product.

Does anyone have an etymology for this word?
Kevin Reidkpreid on June 25th, 2009 02:50 am (UTC)
By analogy with “database” perhaps? As in: “Our web application has two primary components: the database and the codebase.”

I think “codebase” also carries implications of being in part a framework: the foundation for further application development based on it — or further development of it (revision as well as composition). This being opposed to, say, an app which is done — neither extended nor revised.

But I can't particularly justify that connotation.
bbrandt on December 19th, 2009 09:56 am (UTC)
Not sure
I can recall hearing the phrase (if not the compound word) at least a couple decades ago. I often associated it with the state pre-change (e.g. we got it to compile on Sparc with this patch").
futurenerdfuturenerd on March 20th, 2010 12:18 am (UTC)
Baseline, user base
Might be related to "baseline," meaning a state of the code that you presumably know something about, make a big deal about, store carefully, use(d) as the basis (um) for further work, and use as a reference for comparison.

I agree with the relation to "data base." Here the word base seems to mean a bunch of stuff you know you rely on, so you're keeping it corralled so you can keep proper control over it.

Base as in data also has that alienated pointy-haired feeling of, "I don't know what it is exactly, but I know it's important, so I'm going to use a fancy word to make it sound like I'm in the loop." Also, if you're in charge of a whole base, well, you're pretty important.

Then there's base as in "user base" or "customer base." This means an out-of-control environmental factor that's so big you just have to live with it.