I am already working on this project and it is almost code complete.

Is this a correct use of "code complete"? I know that it is a book but I am not sure if this is the right way to say it as a non-native speaker. This is sort of a grammatical question but related to programming.

(I'd say this as "I'm almost finished coding.")

3 Answers 3


This is an example of lingo

lingo : b : the special vocabulary of a particular field of interest

Here "code complete" indicates a stage or milestone in the software development lifecycle.

As is the case with all specialized vocabulary it should be used only with an audience who is expected to be able to understand it.

In this particular case, the usage is quite informal and to maintain the same register I'd suggest using contractions and I'd probably still use scare quotes around it:

I'm already working on it and it's almost "code complete".

Otherwise in a more formal setting, something like:

This work has already been started and coding is nearly complete.

might be better.

  • +1 for suggesting scare quotes, alerting us to the fact that we're dealing with a "geek jargon" usage here. Although paradoxically, it would be the lack of scare quotes that would make me think the writer was a linguistically-challenged geek. When they are included, I make no such assumption about the writer himself - it's just a readily-understood shorthand form. Commented Apr 19, 2013 at 3:39

You could say "I am already working on this project and am almost done writing the implementation."

If you must use the word "code", then say "I am already working on this project and am almost done writing the code."


"Feature-complete" would likely be more clear to everyone, including non-technical folk.

  • 1
    This is not an answer to the question: "Is this a correct use of code complete"
    – Jim
    Commented Apr 19, 2013 at 2:59
  • @Jim: In the context of programmer work, yes it is. Commented Apr 19, 2013 at 4:14
  • 1
    Hmmm, In the context of the English Language, a "Yes/No" question is typically answer by either yes or no, sometimes followed by an explanation for why. So are you saying that OP's use of code complete is incorrect and that feature complete is the proper term?
    – Jim
    Commented Apr 19, 2013 at 5:45
  • 2
    I would make a distinction between "code complete" and "feature complete". "Feature Complete" discusses functionality from a user-perspective- Do all the buttons work? Does it implement the requirements etc. But it may have been coded for the "sunny-day path" only. The programmer may still claim they need to "go in and clean up the code" even after it's been deemed "feature-complete".
    – Jim
    Commented Apr 19, 2013 at 23:09
  • 1
    As a developer, I would agree with this statement. Code complete & feature complete are frequently different things.
    – delliottg
    Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 20:03

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