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Michael Di Prisco
Michael Di Prisco

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Codebase - The Twelve Factor App Methodology

One codebase tracked in revision control, many deploys

Welcome to the world of software development, where creating robust, scalable, and maintainable applications is both an art and a science. In this blog series, we'll delve into the Twelve Factors, a set of best practices designed to guide developers in building cloud-native applications. Each factor addresses a specific aspect crucial for modern software development. Let's kick off with Factor 1: Codebase.

Codebase: The Heart of Your Application

The Codebase factor emphasizes the importance of a single codebase tracked in version control, providing a foundation for collaboration and continuous delivery. In simpler terms, it advocates for having one central place where all your application's code lives.

Why It Matters

A unified codebase fosters consistency, making it easier for developers to work together seamlessly. It ensures that everyone is on the same page, using the same version of the code. This factor is particularly vital in the context of version control systems like Git, where changes are tracked, and collaboration becomes more manageable.

What do we mean by "codebase"

Taking inspiration from the 12-factor website:

A codebase is any single repo (in a centralized revision control system like Subversion), or any set of repos who share a root commit (in a decentralized revision control system like Git).

Maintaining a single codebase involves organizing your code logically and structuring your project sensibly. Adopt a version control system like Git to manage changes effectively.

If there are multiple codebases, it’s not an app – it’s a distributed system. Each component in a distributed system is an app, and each can individually comply with twelve-factor.

Multiple apps sharing the same code is a violation of twelve-factor. The solution here is to factor shared code into libraries which can be included through the dependency manager.

An Example

Consider a web application that tracks tasks. Instead of having different repositories for the frontend and backend, maintain a single repository for the entire application. This approach simplifies coordination and ensures that changes to both the frontend and backend are tracked together.

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In conclusion, the Codebase factor sets the stage for efficient collaboration and a streamlined development process. A well-organized and version-controlled codebase is the cornerstone of successful software development.

Stay tuned for the next installment, where we'll explore Factor 2: Dependencies and delve into the intricacies of managing external libraries and dependencies in your projects.

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