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I have never written a bad line of code.
When I tell people that, they often scoff and offer replies like “so you’re not a programmer then?” and “let me guess, you’re a coding deity or something?” Well let me say, I am a programmer and I am not Codethulu, but in the same manner that Al Gore can fly around the world in a private jet without polluting, I have negated my bad code footprint through the purchase of Bad Code Offsets.
This is all made possible through the Alliance for Code Excellence, a group for which I am proud to be the chairman. Its charter members include Jeff Atwood, Erik Sink, Jon Skeet, Jason Cohen, and several other software development community leaders who are just as passionate about quality code as I am. We stand strong with our vision:
We envision a world where software runs cleanly and correctly as it simplifies, enhances and enriches our day to day work and home lives. Mitigating the scope and negative impact of bad code on our jobs, our lives and our world is our all–consuming passion. We foresee a time when bad coding practices and their rotten fruits have been eliminated from this earth and its server farms thereby heralding a new age of software brilliance and efficacy.
Nettlesome bugs and poorly written code have been constant impediments towards realizing our full potential as programmers and engineers. Bad Code Offsets provides the vehicle for balancing the scales of poor past practice while freeing us to pursue current excellence in code development. Until the dawn of the worldwide, bug free code base, each of us can take steps towards reducing our bad code footprint and remediate the bad code that we have each individually and collectively left behind on the desktops, servers and mainframes at school, at work and at home.
While the notion of offsetting bad code instead of outright correcting it may seem like a "hack" to some, we believe it's a good approach for today's problems and today's codebase. The dollars you spend purchasing Bad Code Offsets are donated to various worthy Open Source initiatives that are carrying the fight against bad code on a daily basis. These organizations currently include jQuery, PostgreSQL, and The Apache Software Foundation.
Imagine a world without bugs. Not the creepy-crawly-soil-enriching bugs, more the bugs that plague all software, past and present. The bugs behind the inane error messages you see day-in and day-out. The bugs that cause multi-million dollar business disasters. The bugs responsible for (literally) crashing billion-dollar space exploration equipment.
By today’s coding standards, a world free of bugs is a far-fetched fantasy. Bugs are an ever-present part of code and about as likely as a semi-colon in a C++ program. But does it always have to be like this? Will there always have to be bad software?
While I do believe that, one day, given sufficient tools, knowledge, and experience, we achieve the worldwide, bug-free codebase, there’s a preposterous amount of work and clean-up between here and there. Think of the swaths of bad code that we have left behind on the desktops, servers and mainframes at school, at work and at home. Add to that the bad code that is being churned out each day by unskilled colleagues and our own laziness, and we're left with a completely unwinnable battle.
That is, unless we try a radically different approach. And that's exactly what we're doing with Bad Code Offsets. It's our first, bold step towards universal code excellence.
Not many things in life allow us to atone for past mistakes. But by buying Bad Code Offsets, you can not only do that, but you can make up for other people's mistakes. Get them for your friends, for your peers, and of course for your code review sessions.
They're inexpensive (50¢ per SLOC) and come in a number of denominations. Plus, for a limited time, shipping is free. Buy as little (minimum of 3) or as many as you'd like.
If you're in the SoCal region this evening (Wednesday, November 18), make sure to stop by the world famous Conga Room. We'll be officially launching Bad Code Offsets at the Underground @ PDC 2009 event (free, but registration required) in Los Angeles. Pick up some Daily WTF stickers, Stack Overflow stickers, and of course, your very first Bad Code Offset.
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