As per usual, we'll be spending a few days looking back at some of our favorite stories of the year. We start with a visit to a place where copy/pasting isn't just common, it's part of the culture. Original -- Remy

Mark F had just gone to production on the first project at his new job: create a billables reconciliation report that an end-user had requested a few years ago. It was clearly not a high priority, which was exactly why it was the perfect items to assign a new programmer.

"Unfortunately," the end user reported, "it just doesn't seem to be working. It's running fine on test, but when I run it on the live site I'm getting a SELECT permission denied on the object fn_CalculateBusinessDays message. Any idea what that means?"

The problem was fairly obvious, and Mark knew exactly what the error meant. But the solution wasn't so obvious. Why did the GRANT script work fine in test, but not in production? How can he check to see what the GRANTS are in production? Is there someone specific he should ask to get permission to look himself? Does the DBA team use a sort of ticketing system maybe? Is this even the right approach? Who on his team could he even ask?

Fortunately, Mark had the perfect venue to ask these sorts of questions: the weekly one-on-one with his team lead, Jennifer. Although he had a few years of coding experience under his belt, he was brand new to The Enterprise and specifically, how large organizations worked. Jennifer definitely wasn't the most technical person he'd met, but she was super helpful in "getting unblocked" as he was learning to say.

"Huh", Jennifer answered in their meeting, "first off, why do you even need a function to calculate the business days between two dates?"

"This seems like something pretty common in our reports," Mark responded, "and this, if the logic ever changes, we only need to change it in one place."

Jennifer gave a mystified look and smiled, "Changes? I don't think the 7-day week is going to change anytime soon, nor is the fact that Saturday and Sunday are weekends."

"Well, umm," Mark definitely didn't expect that response. He was surprised to have to explain the basic principles of code reuse to his supposed mentor, "you see, this way we don't have to constantly rewrite the logic in all the places, so the code is a bit simpler."

"Why don't you just copy/paste the calculation code in your queries?" she rhetorically asked. "That seems like it'd be a lot simpler to me. And that's what I always do…. But if you really want to get the DBAs involved, your best contact is that dba-share email address. They are super-slow to project tickets, but everyone sees that box and they will quickly triage from there."

Needless to say, he didn't follow Jennifer's programming advice. She was spot on about how to work with the DBA team. That tip alone saved Mark weeks of frustration and escalation, and helped him network with a lot more people inside The Enterprise over the years.


Mark's inside connections helped, and he eventually found himself leading a team of his own. That meant a lot more responsibilities, but he found it was pretty gratifying to help others "get unblocked" in The Enterprise.

One day, while enjoying a short vacation on a beach far, far away from the office, Mark got a frantic call from one of his team members. An end-user was panicked about a billables reconciliation report that had been inaccurate for months. The auditors had discovered the discrepancies and needed answers right away.

"So far as I can tell," his mentee said, "this report is using a fn_ CalculateBusinessDays function, which does all sorts of calculations for holidays, but they already prorate those on the report."

The problem was fairly obvious, and Mark knew exactly what happened. Some must have changed the logic on that function to work for their needs. But changing it back would mean breaking someone else's report. And the whole idea of a function seemed strange, because that would mean taking a dependen--

The junior programmer interrupted his stream of thought.

"I think I should just add an argument to the function to not include holidays," he said. "That's really simple to do, and we can just edit our report to use that argument."

"Ehhh," Mark hesitated, "the logic is so simple. Why don't you just copy/paste the business day calculation? That's the simplest solution… that's what I do all the time."

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