Anyone that does design or development (or even writing, really) as either a hobby or for a living knows that feeling of going back and looking at their old work – and cringing.

We know that we’re making progress in our work when we look at something we once did and think “What was I doing?”

The funny thing is, whatever we’re designing, developing, or writing today is going to be treated that way sometime in the not-so-distant future, right?

I digress on that point.

Anyway, for me, one of the things that I find myself debating is how long I should keep some of my open source code repositories around.

Delete Old Repositories Or No?

Here’s the thing: Open repositories serve as a bit of a paper trail of the work that we’ve done, and they also give us a place to help others out by showing how we’ve solved problems that they’re likely encountering.

Unfortunately, much of what we do can become outdated either because we’ve gotten better as developers (and the work in embarrassing), or the foundation on which we were building the project has changed such that the code doesn’t work any more.


On top of that, there’s the mindshare that’s occupied by knowing you’ve got these rotting projects available sitting there being viewed and/or used by who knows who, right?

I mean, on top of being embarrassed by our own work, or keeping work that’s publicly outdated for others to stumble across and potentially mistake for something current, what’s the advantage to keep it around?

For what it’s worth, I actually think it’s a better idea to delete old repositories if they are out of date or no longer being updated, but some do say there’s something to be said for keeping your old work on display.

What Are We To Do?

Periodically, I go make sure to go through certain files, applications, and project that I have and archive them because they’re no longer useful or applicable; however, some people tend to have a different attitude as it relates to publicly available source code.

So, in short, I’m a fan of removing old repositories that are no longer being used or referenced, but where do you stand, and why?