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Posted by Will, May 25, 2012

Making Nosy Crow Apps

At Nosy Crow we use version control software to manage changes to the code and asset files that make up our apps. As each new app feature is implemented, the files that have changed are committed back to the version control server for safe keeping. During the development of a single new app, this can occur hundreds or even thousands of times; sometimes changing lots of similar files, sometimes lots of different files and occasionally just one file. All our apps are built using the same ‘engine’ code, with most of it common to all our apps. What makes each app unique is the other code and the art, animation and sound assets. As we’ve developed more apps the things the engine is capable of has increased. This means we can share new features across apps and even enable new features in older apps – something you’ll see very soon. Our engine now consists of about one hundred thousand lines of code. Our Cinderella app adds a further fifteen thousand lines that are unique to Cinderella, whereas one of our Bizzy Bear apps adds about eight thousand.

The video we show here is a visualisation all the changes to files and assets in our version control server. Each coloured dot is a file, grouped by folder. The lines represent the folder structure. Each flash of activity is a file being changed. You can see how the structure grows and changes over time as we started new apps or localised an existing one. The video was created using the great Gource tool.