Python code-bloat tool-- warning n00b stuff...

Robert Kern robert.kern at
Sat May 16 18:55:11 EDT 2009

On 2009-05-16 12:13, anand j wrote:
> Hi,
>      I am looking for a bunch of rules or a tool that takes the code for
> my python class and checks the amount of code bloat and points out where
> i can improve. I am a n00b to python and built an application linking
> wordnet and graph packages. but somehow have this nagging feeling my
> code is too bloated with too many functions..... might just be paranoia
> , but worth an investigation i guess.....
> Sorry if this is a repeat/trivial question, I could not find any
> comprehensive links on google or the mailing list archive that is within
> my gmail. Currently, trying to download the other archives and index
> using whoosh and try searching it.

Just use Google: " code bloat tool"

But basically, such a thing doesn't really exist. It's not really a quantifiable 
concept. You can use tools like pylint to enforce a simple policy (e.g. "no more 
than 50 methods per class"), but that's not really the same thing, nor is it 
something you can't do yourself with a little bit of grepping.

A slightly more interesting and nontrivial metric that you can apply is 
cyclomatic complexity. Basically, it is the number of independent code paths 
your each function may go down.

This will give a not-too-unreasonable measure of how complicated each function 
is. I don't know if that's what you are getting at with the term "code bloat".

However, there is no substitute for experienced judgment. Show your code to 
other Pythonistas. What do they think? A quick question to an experienced 
programmer is usually much more efficient than downloading a tool and trying to 
interpret its results.

Robert Kern

"I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma
  that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had
  an underlying truth."
   -- Umberto Eco

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