Does a tree make a sound if it falls in the woods and there's nobody there to hear it?

B. M.'s coworker was the stuff of which legends are made; code was always delivered ahead of schedule and it never threw an error. Her code was the least buggy in the entire department, and so became the standard against which all other code was measured.

Some years back, B. M. supported a large corporate client. Their team had built many of the tools they used, including their leads system (Java app). It was a scheduled task that processed sales-lead requests into a round robin queue so company sales people could get their leads and chase down potential sales in a timely manner. His legendary coworker had written a large chunk of the system.

The problem was the system kept failing (it would get stuck on a piece of data, then keep trying to process that same data over and over), and it would need to be restarted manually. According to their senior engineer, this system throws the fewest errors of any of our code, so it should be very stable (granted he didn't write it).

Tasked with finding the problem, B. M. and a co-worker loaded the code into eclipse and immediately shuddered in horror. The app never complained about anything because every bit of logic went like this:

  try { 
      some logic here ... 
  } catch (Exception e) {
    // do nothing 

It was the Java version of On Error Resume Next; it beat every error into silent submission. They added in a few error blocks with logging, then rebuilt and restarted the system.

It proceeded to choke, badly, and die. It had so many problems that they were surprised it worked at all!