If you’ve ever wanted to track your work pattern when developing software, Codealike is the tool for you.
Since I started working professionally as a software developer, I’ve been striving to improve my performance and productivity. One of the best ways I’ve found to do this is to measure it. If you can’t measure something, then you can’t improve it.
One of the first tools I started using to track my progress was time tracking software. I started using a few until I settled on one called Toggl, a simple and easy to use piece of software that requires you to start and stop a timer when you’re doing something. You can assign your tracking sessions to projects and then tag them with relevant information. When you start, you’ll find it difficult to remember to start and stop your tracker, but it eventually becomes the norm.
With the Toggl software, I managed to improve my time keeping to make sure I was spending more time at my desk doing work. It’s got to a point now though, that I’m not able to improve it anymore without spending more than my regular hours in the office. That’s when I turned to finding a solution for tracking my programming habits and found Codealike just the other day.
What is Codealike?
Codealike is a service which plugs into your IDE and measures your performance when you’re coding, debugging, and building software. It will start tracking from the minute you open up your solution in VS or Eclipse and begin typing away on your keyboard. It provides a range of facts and information that you can use in your day-to-day lives to improve on your software development techniques, not only as an individual but also in your teams.
As the software does integrate as a plug-in to Visual Studio or Eclipse to track your coding, you may have concerns regarding how it works. The software has the option to allow you to track certain solutions manually, which means that if you have private or restricted solutions that you don’t want to be tracked, you can turn the tracker off for them.
It also doesn’t track what you’re actually typing or save any of your source code out to an external source. It is simply an easy to use, hiding away in the background piece of software that doesn’t require any interaction. You set it up, start coding and let it do it’s thing.
How do I see my performance?
Codealike’s website will be the hub that allows you to see how you’re doing. You have your own dashboard where you can see a breakdown of the percentage per hour that you’re spending interacting with your code and IDE. You also have a section which tracks when you’re ‘on fire’ which represents how hard you’ve been working that day. If you’re working in a team and have your colleagues added, you’ll be able to compare stats between your team members.
You can then drill down into this information to see code usage which shows the solutions that you’ve been working on, the projects within them and then the files within those projects that you’ve edited. It will also give you information on the files you’ve been debugging and the technologies that you’ve been using.
You’ve then got your timeline which shows in further detail, at what time and for how long you were doing certain tasks like coding, building & debugging. You can click on your sessions in this timeline to reveal even more detailed information showing which files you worked with within that period of time and which task you were performing on them.
Codealike also provides a code tree for you. It will show you a hierarchy of the projects that you’ve worked on based on the time you’ve worked on each. You can drill down into those to see the projects within then and again the files. If you’ve got teams set up, you can also see who else has worked on the files. One great thing about this tool is that it provides you information on technical debt and give you recommendations on how to improve on it. These are represented by a fire extinguisher for the highest and a question mark for those to consider as they could cause issues in the future.
Having only used the software for a couple of days, I’ve not seen a large improvement but having the stats to show how I’m performing will help greatly in improving my performance and as a result, will also help improve the quality of software that I work on.
I highly recommend taking a look at Codealike if you’re wanting to track your productivity and performance as a developer. There are many tools that can do the job though, so if you’re not a developer using Visual Studio or Eclipse, have a quick search for some other tracking tools to suit you!
You can use Codealike for free with features that provide a fantastic experience so I can only assume that the paid subscriptions provide much more on top of that.
You can sign up to use Codealike here: http://codealike.com/Home/Premium
Use another piece of tracking software that you enjoy or have one you’d like me to try out? Let me know in the comments and I will take a look!