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What it actually costs – an ecological price tag for software development

JAXenter Editorial Team

What does software development really cost? When we think about the numbers adding up, we often don’t take energy consumption into consideration. There is always an ecological price to software development. Maximilian Berghoff discusses the ecological questions that development raises in this session.

As I write these lines here, my fan is running at full speed. Not because I am so badly equipped, no, it’s because of the abundance of things that run alongside. For several open source projects, some docker containers are running; for a private project, a Kubernetes runs and purrs and provides scalability on the machine. And then there’s the virtual machine for the customer project; somehow, this machine never really stops, just like the whole computer.

In addition, tests and builds are running in different CI platforms. Those tests and builds that start with a simple git push origin my_branch. A job for every aspect of my application or library. Of course, as a developer, I’m happy when those jobs turn green. And in case it happens that I forgot a few lines of code to commit: git add . && git push orgin my_branch. It’s so easy. The CI will fix it; it costs me nothing.

Does it really cost nothing? Of course, depending on the type of CI platform, there will be hosting fees or other contributions. But these costs are only marginally noticeable in a large project. One price that I can’t recognize so far is the price for energy consumption. The energy consumption and the production of the machines that support us are always accompanied by an ecological price. Can we create a kind of label for this price, a counter which helps us prioritize features not only according to development times and benefits?


CIMaximilian Berghoff works as a developer for the Mayflower GmbH in Würzburg. As such, he develops highly professional PHP and JavaScript applications. He invests his free time in contributing to the Symfony CMF (Content Management Framework). Besides, he is a dad of two lovely sons and enjoys reading and watching Game of Thrones.

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