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CodeSee brings code mapping tool to enterprise developers

CodeSee, which maps code for the entire development pipeline, fills a market need for simplification in the face of growing complexity, according to one analyst.

CodeSee, a code visibility platform that detects and visualizes codebases, launched CodeSee Enterprise Wednesday, which extends the tool to run in a company's cloud environment.

CodeSee, which launched in 2019 and has since integrated with GitHub, helps developers visualize and map code through the code lifecycle from discovery to production and beyond. Developers can visualize services and microservices, dive in to find out where an API call is happening, and see what's consuming endpoints -- giving them a map of where to go to review code quality and detect bugs, said Shanea Leven, co-founder and CEO of CodeSee and former senior director of product management at Docker.

CodeSee Enterprise is part of a larger trend of new companies bringing products to market that provide greater visualization of software development workflows, said Christopher Condo, analyst at Forrester Research.

"As products have been decomposed into smaller microservices, understanding how they all work together is growing increasingly more difficult," he said. "Tools like CodeSee or code search tools like Sourcegraph -- and even GitHub Copilot -- are all coming on board to help developers deal with greater complexity while remaining productive."

Condo isn't aware of any comparable tools to CodeSee, other than Cast Imaging, which is geared toward architecture and architects.

"What I like about CodeSee is that it is designed for software engineers and fits into their day-to-day lives to help them be more productive as they are developing code," Condo said.

CodeSee Enterprise code mapping tool example screenshot
CodeSee maps out the production pipeline.

Measurable benefits

CodeSee Enterprise customer Distribute Aid, a Swedish nonprofit humanitarian organization that connects grassroots charitable organizations to communities in need, beta-tested CodeSee Enterprise with great results, said Taylor Fairbank, co-founder and operations director at Distribute Aid.

The nonprofit purchased a license in June 2022, but started using CodeSee for GitHub in March 2021 when it was struggling to deliver aid where it was needed at scale, Fairbank said. A significant problem was onboarding developers to build and maintain Distribute Aid's open source projects for needs assessment and the coordination and tracking of shipped donations, which took an average of two four-hour sessions per developer, he said.

We say all the time, 'A picture's worth a thousand lines of code,' right?
Shanea LevenCo-founder and CEO, CodeSee

"[CodeSee] cut our onboarding time in half," Fairbank said. "It used to take me a whole afternoon to walk someone through our codebase and train them up. Now, we get to do it in about an hour and a half, going from them looking at our codebase to making their first contribution."

In addition to cutting down the onboarding time, CodeSee cut code review time down by half. "That saves us 30 hours per quarter, which lends us $20,000 more in aid because we're able to focus on solving other problems," Fairbank said.

CodeSee created by Docker alum

Leven came up with the idea of a code visualization tool in 2019 when she worked at Docker.

"We were trying to get a feature out the door, and there was a bug two days before the launch," she said. "The people who knew that part of the codebase were no longer at Docker -- a lot of obscenities were yelled because we worked on the feature for months and it didn't go out."

Shanea Leven, co-founder and CEO, CodeSeeShanea Leven

Leven pondered the question of why the team didn't understand the code, coming to the realization that a visualization tool would have helped to locate the bug.

"We say all the time, 'A picture's worth a thousand lines of code,' right?" she said.

Leven left Docker the same year and developed CodeSee. The company has raised $3 million in seed funding in the past year from Boldstart Ventures, Plexo Capital, Wellington Management and Uncork Capital.

"We've done a huge amount of work on creating a full code visibility platform," Leven said. "Instead of visualizing just the repo, you can visualize how your code works. ... You can imagine it as like a Google Map for your whole code workflow."

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