Recent CodeSOD

Code Snippet Of the Day (CodeSOD) features interesting and usually incorrect code snippets taken from actual production code in a commercial and/or open source software projects.

Aug 2018

Isn't There a Vaccine For MUMPS?

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Alex F is suffering from a disease. No, it’s not disfiguring, it’s not fatal. It’s something much worse than that.


Knowledge Transfer

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Lucio Crusca is a consultant with a nice little portfolio of customers he works with. One of those customers was also a consultancy, and their end customer had a problem. The end customer's only in-house developer, Tyrell, was leaving. He’d worked there for 8 years, and nobody else knew anything about his job, his code, or really what exactly he’d been doing for 8 years.

They had two weeks to do a knowledge transfer before Tyrell was out the door. There was no chance of on-boarding someone in that time, so they wanted a consultant who could essentially act as a walking, talking USB drive, simply holding all of Tyrell’s knowledge until they could have a full-time developer.


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If there’s one big problem with XML, it’s arguably that XML is overspecified. That’s not all bad- it means that every behavior, every option, every approach is documented, schematized, and defined. That might result in something like SOAP, which creates huge, bloated payloads, involves multiple layers of wrapping tags, integrates with discovery schemas, has additional federation and in-built security mechanisms, each of which are themselves defined in XML. And let’s not even start on XSLT and XQuery.

It also means that if you have a common task, like embedding arbitrary content in a safe fashion, there’s a well-specified and well-documented way to do it. If you did want to embed arbitrary content in a safe fashion, you could use the <![CDATA [Here is some arbitrary content]]> directive. It’s not a pretty way of doing it, but it means you don’t have to escape anything but ]]>, which is only a problem in certain esoteric programming languages with rude names.

This Interview Doesn't Count

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There are merits and disadvantages to including any sort of programming challenge in your interview process. The argument for something like a FizzBuzz challenge is that a surprising number of programmers can’t actually do that, and it weeds out the worst candidates and the liars.

Gareth was interviewing someone who purported to be a senior developer with loads of Java experience. As a standard part of their interview process, they do a little TDD based exercise: “here’s a test, here’s how to run it, now write some code which passes the test.”

The Mike Test

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The Joel Test is about to turn 18 this year. Folks have attempted to “update” it, but even after graduating high school, the test remains a good starting point for identifying a “good” team.

Mike was impressed to discover a PHP script which manages to fail a number of points on the Joel Test in only 8 lines.

Fortran the Undying

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There are certain languages which are still in use, are still changing and maturing, and yet are also frozen in time. Fortran is a perfect example- over the past 40–60 years, huge piles of code, mostly for scientific and engineering applications, was written. It may be hard to believe, but modern Fortran supports object-oriented programming and has a focus on concurrency.

Most of the people using Fortran, it seems, learned it in the 70s. And no matter what happens to the language, they still write code like it’s the 70s. Fortran’s own seeming immortality has imbued its users with necromantic energy, turning them into undying, and unchanging Liches.