CodeSee helps developers visualize and understand complex code bases

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As a software company grows, so does its code base, which can count contributions from dozens or hundreds of individual developers – some of whom no longer work in the company. Understanding the work across a huge code base can be challenging, especially for developers joining a company, and this is where CodeSee comes in.

Founded in San Francisco in 2019, CodeSee enables developers to integrate their GitHub repositories and automatically generate “maps” to visualize an entire code base, better understand how everything fits together, and see how a proposed change will affect it broader code base.

Users can place labels and notes in a CodeSee card that remains as developers come and go, and files and folders change over time. A “tours” feature allows visual review of a piece of code. In addition, these maps are automatically updated when each pull request is merged and are language agnostic, supporting dependencies across Java, JavaScript, Go, and Python.

Above: CodeSee maps

The CodeSee platform was originally launched in private beta back in July, but as of this week it is available as part of a public beta program. To reach more developers around the world, the company also announced that it has raised $ 3 million in a round of financing led by Boldstart Ventures and Uncork Capital, with the participation of Salesforce Ventures, Precursor Ventures and a lot of angel investors.

Open source factors

Although CodeSee cards are still in beta, the company also announced a new open source community called OSS Port, which is designed to help developers participate in open source projects. OSS Port is part of CodeSee’s mission, as open source software projects are inherently collaborative and can be difficult to navigate as thousands of people from around the world try to build and maintain a single code base.

The new community-focused product connects open source projects with people using CodeSee Maps to help on board and retain contributors. Maintainers can list their projects on OSS Port and tag them with specific topics, e.g. “Socially good” so that potential contributors can find open source projects that are relevant to their interests.

Above: CodeSee: OSS Port

CodeSee’s platform aims to solve a problem that affects developers and companies of all sizes, although it will undoubtedly become more useful the larger a company is and the more comprehensive its code base is.

“Understanding large, complex code bases is a crucial issue for developers – regardless of the context of the code base,” CodeSee co-founder and CEO Shanea Leven told VentureBeat. “So whether your code base is in a 20-year-old company or a two-year startup that maintains an open source project with thousands of participants — it’s the same problem. They need to understand how the code works so they can change it without breaking it. ”

Above: CodeSee co-founder and CEO Shanea Leven

Leven said that cards will always be free for the open source community as part of OSS Port, but the ultimate plan is to create a commercial business out of CodeSee cards using feedback from the open beta program. We’ll have to see what the commercial offer is going to look like.

“We draw on the valuable user experiences and feedback from our current beta cohort to define what will one day be a card business offering,” Leven said. “Our goal is to develop and ultimately release a corporate offering that meets the unique interests and needs of larger organizations, with features that are capable of enterprise-wide breadth and scale.”

It is worth noting that other companies are setting out to solve similar problems. Earlier this year, VentureBeat covered a company called Swimm, which helps developers share knowledge and understand each other’s code, and there are clear parallels here – but this only highlights developers’ growing desire to solve the codebase complexity problem.

“There are a few startups focused on helping developers understand code bases, but there is no objective market leader – yet,” Leven said. “It is a big problem with many potential solutions. I often think of it as if we are in a pie-generating room, not a pie tent. ”


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