Alex Papadimoulis

Alex is a speaker and writer who is passionate about looking beyond the code to build great software. In addition to founding Inedo - the makers of BuildMaster, the popular continuous delivery platform - Alex also started The Daily WTF, a fun site dedicated to building software the wrong way.

Classic WTF: Slightly More Sociable

by in Tales from the Interview on
As we continue our vacation, this classic comes from the ancient year of 2007, when "used to being the only woman in my engineering and computer science classes" was a much more common phrase. Getting a job can feel competitive, but there are certain ways you can guarantee you're gonna lose that competition. Original --Remy

Today’s Tale from the Interview comes from Shanna...

Fresh out of college, and used to being the only woman in my engineering and computer science classes, I wasn't quite sure what to expect in the real world. I happily ended up finding a development job in a company which was nowhere near as unbalanced as my college classes had been. The company was EXTREMELY small and the entire staff, except the CEO, was in one office. I ended up sitting at a desk next to the office admin, another woman who was hired a month or two after me.


Classic WTF: The Developmestuction Environment

by in Feature Articles on
We continue to enjoy a brief respite from mining horrible code and terrible workplaces. This classic includes this line: "It requires that… Adobe Indesign is installed on the web server." Original --Remy

Have you ever thought what it would take for you to leave a new job after only a few days? Here's a fun story from my colleague Jake Vinson, whose co-worker of three days would have strongly answered "this."

One of the nice thing about externalizing connection strings is that it's easy to duplicate a database, duplicate the application's files, change the connection string to point to the new database, and bam, you've got a test environment.


Classic WTF: A Char'd Enum

by in CodeSOD on
It's a holiday in the US today, so we're reaching back into the archives while doing some quarantine grilling. This classic has a… special approach to handling enums. Original. --Remy

Ah yes, the enum. It's a convenient way to give an integer a discrete domain of values, without having to worry about constants. But you see, therein lies the problem. What happens if you don't want to use an integer? Perhaps you'd like to use a string? Or a datetime? Or a char?

If that were the case, some might say just make a class that acts similarly, or then you clearly don't want an enum. But others, such as Dan Holmes' colleague, go a different route. They make sure they can fit chars into enums.


Copy/Paste Culture

by in Feature Articles on

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?"


Microsoft's English Pluralization Service

by in CodeSOD on

Despite founding The Daily WTF more than fifteen years ago, I still find myself astonished and perplexed by the curious perversions in information technology that you all send in. These days, I spend most of my time doing "CEO of Inedo stuff", which means I don't get to code that much. And when I do, it's usually working with the beautiful, completely WTF- and bug-free code that our that our world-class engineers create.

I mention this, because when I come across TDWTF-worthy code on my own, in the wild, it's a very special occasion. And today, I'm excited to share with you one of the worst pieces of code I've seen in a very long time: EnglishPluralizationServices.cs


The Compliance Ropeway

by in Feature Articles on

"So, let me get this straight," Derrick said. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath while massaging his temples before letting out an exasperated sigh. "Not a single person... in this entire organization... is taking ANY responsibility for Ropeway? No one is even willing to admit that they know anything about this application...?"

The Operations team had grown accustomed to their new director's mannerisms and learned it's just better to stay silent and let Derrick think out loud. Afterall, no one envied his job or his idealistic quest for actual compliance. If had he been at the bank as long as his team had, Derrick would have learned that there's compliance... and then there's "compliance."


Classic WTF: Manager of the Data Dump

by in Feature Articles on
It's a holiday in the US, where we catalog the things we're thankful for. I'm thankful that developers collectively learned to understand how databases work, and didn't start releasing databases that stored flexible documents with no real schema and could just be used as a data dump. That would be terrible! This classic WTF illustrates that. Originally. --Remy

J.T. is not well liked amongst the developers at his organization. As a Database Administrator, it's J.T's job to make sure that database structures and queries maintain data integrity and do not put an unnecessarily load on the server. This often gets in the way of the developers, who prefer to think of the database as a giant dump site where data gets thrown and is rummaged through to be retrieved. Things like "indexes," "valid data," and "naming conventions" are merely obstacles put in place by J.T. to make their life harder.

Generally, the submission-review-rejection procedure happens once or twice with most of the developers. But one particular developer -- a newly hired ".NET Wizard" named Frank -- turns the procedure into a daily cycle that drags on for several weeks. Following is Frank's reply to the first in a chain of rejections on a project that Frank was leading up ...


Overlapping Complexity

by in CodeSOD on

After his boss left the company, Joel C was promoted to team lead. This meant that Joel was not only responsible for their rather large production codebase, but also for interviewing new potential team members. There are a ton of coding questions that one can ask in a technical interview, and Joel figured he should ask one that they actually solve in their application: given two unordered sets of timestamps, calculate how much overlap (if any) is between the two series.

If you think about it for a minute, it's really quite simple: first, find the minimum and maximum values for each set to get the start and end times (e.g. [01:08:01,01:09:55] and [01:04:11,01:09:42]). Then, subtract the later start time (01:08:01) from the earlier end time (01:09:42) to get the overlap (01:09:42 - 01:08:01 = 00:01:41). A non-positive result would indicate there's no overlap (such as 12:00:04 - 13:11:43), and in that case, it should probably just be zero. Or, in a single line of code:


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