BEAST MODE

This website reimagines lines of code as whimsical Pokemon-like creatures

Software might be eating the world, as Marc Andreessen famously put it, but you can’t see it. While users interact endlessly with the front-end, the underlying infrastructure of code usually goes somewhat neglected.

A playful new open-source project from payments company Braintree hopes to change that. The PayPal subsidiary launched a site called Codeology yesterday (Feb. 17) that grabs programs uploaded to code-sharing platform GitHub, processes them with an algorithm and spits them out as colorful, Pokemon-esque shapes.

Users can rotate the shapes and see a breakdown of different languages and lines of code that went into them. They can also be downloaded as animated gifs or wallpapers.

The Codeology algorithm assigns different colored shapes to different programming languages. The more languages used, the more complex and colorful the final shape. The visualizations also grow bigger with more lines of code.

Here’s what the most “starred” code repository on GitHub looks like (stars are a metric of popularity):

A Codeology vizualisation of Bootstrap, the most popular code repository on GitHub.
(Codeology)

And this is Quartz’s graphics tool Chartbuilder:

Codeology vizualisation of Quartz Chartbuilder.
(Codeology)

The point of the project is to “celebrate the individual lines and languages … and the developer behind each,” Braintree said in an announcement.

Of course, this all makes sense from Braintree’s perspective: Its users are developers implementing payments features, after all, and this project won’t hurt its relationship with that community. Indeed, the project has already surfaced on Reddit, where it’s racked up more than 1,000 upvotes.

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