Cross-Post: Dealing with Inherited Code

This post is more toward the techie end of the scale, non-geeks can skip this one :)

I took on a software porting project in my first job, and this is how I dealt with getting to grips with the large, unknown codebase. I hope this is of use to anyone – particularly junior developers – in learning a large inherited codebase for software project inherited from another developer.

Here’s the link to the original article written on my more geek-oriented personal blog: Programming: Dealing with Inherited Source Code. I’m cross-linking here on WebsiteDoctor as it might be useful to web programmers starting work on a large unfamiliar codebase.

About Alastair McDermott

Alastair McDermott is an online business and technology consultant specialising in helping B2B and professional services businesses to sell more online.

With a background in software, web design & development, internet marketing and search engine optimisation, he has been building websites and software since 1996 and is a ten year veteran of using WordPress.

He has co-founded several software, web and information based startup companies and has provided solutions for many large Irish and international organisations.

Alastair blogs, and makes media of all kinds at WebsiteDoctor. Follow him on Twitter at @WebsiteDoctor or .


  • MK Andarmk says:

    Good article. Can you recommend any tool to help with navigation of large code bases?

    • Hi MK,

      There’s some good recommendations over on StackOverflow here that might be of use – many of them are C specific.

      Personally, I think you can’t go wrong with some basic text processing and search tools. It’s fairly platform dependent, so I like Notepad2 (the Kai Liu version) for text editing, along with Agent Ransack for in-file search. On UNIX systems gvim, grep and a terminal are usually all I’d need.


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