When I was a software developer for the O’Reilly Network (articles and blogs, like the one you’re reading now), I probably wrote about 3 to 5 times as much text as code. It was a lot of code, but in my role as an analyst, I sent a lot of email and IMs about the state of our systems and data.
I had a consulting job last summer where the ratio was more like 1 to 5: a lot of code as I built a website from scratch in Perl, and less text: status updates and discussion of features.
Now that I’m a Ph.D. student in Computer Science, it’s probably more like 50 to 1. I write essays, papers, reviews, exercise solutions, even comments on homework I grade. What do I code? Not much, only one of my 4 classes this semester involves programming, and it was all in Lisp where a little code goes a long way (oh, and also some Prolog).
I’ve always done plenty of coding on personal projects (where there may be little or no text at all), but I can say my text to code ratio for my primary job has gone from medium to low to high. Or something like that — I don’t know what’s normal.
What is your estimated text to code ratio? I’m thinking character-to-character comparision, but if you think time spent is better, feel free. It can be from your job, or your hobbies, or both, but please don’t mix them. And how would you count documentation?