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.

May 2016

The Latest Price

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Relational Database are a great way to structure data, but they have their warts. Certain kinds of structures don’t model well relationally, some are difficult to tune for performance, and some queries are just expensive no matter what. Still, with some smart design choices, some indexes, and some tuning of the execution plan, you can make things work.

Hambai approached a tuning problem with that perspective. The database had a huge pile of financial information- stock transactions, commodity valuations, and currency exchange rates. When it was new, queries were fast, but now, years on, performance ground to a halt. One query that drew his attention was one for accessing the latest exchange rate for four different currencies. It was run frequently, and each access took up to thirty seconds.


Data Date Access

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Perhaps the greatest evil Microsoft ever perpetrated on the world was putting a full-featured IDE on every end user’s desktop: Microsoft Office. Its macro system is a stripped down version of Visual Basic, complete with a UI-building tool, and when used in conjunction with Access, allows anyone to build a database-driven application. Anyone that’s spent enough time in an “enterprise” has probably inherited at least one Access application that was developed but somebody out at a manufacturing plant that magically became “mission critical”. Still, we can’t blame the end users for that.

There’s a special subset of developer though, that when trying to come up with an application that’s easy deploy, chooses Access as their development environment. “It’s already on all the users’ machines,” they say. “We can just put the MDB on a shared drive,” they say. And that’s how Ben gets handed an Access database and told, “figure out why this is so slow?”


Unstandard Lib

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One of the hallmarks of “bad code” is when someone reinvents the wheel. In many Code SODs, we show code that could be replaced with a one-line call to a built in, standard library.

That’s one of the the advantages to a high-level language operating on modern hardware. Andrew doesn’t live in high-level land. He does embedded systems programming, often on platforms that don’t have conveniences like “standard libraries”, and so they end up reinventing the wheel from time to time.


The Difficulties of Choice

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It’s no easy task combing through the submissions and choosing the right code sample.

Ulysses knows my pain. He recently inherited a Python codebase with plenty of global variables, no convention around capitalizing identifiers, inconsistent levels of indentation, and an AngularJS front end.


What A Load

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JCB 3CX Backhoe loader

In the mid-2000s, Amani was contracted to refactor a legacy codebase. He enjoyed breathing new life into old garbage, until the fateful day he came upon something completely unexpected.


An Ant Pushes a Perl

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It’s an old joke that Perl is a “write only language”. Despite some of its issues, back in the early 2000s, Perl was one of the best options out there for scripting languages and rapid-development automation.

Speaking of automation, build automation is really important. Back in the early 2000s, before Maven really caught on, your build automation tool for Java was Ant. Ant, like everything invented in the early 2000s, was driven by an XML scripting tool. Since it was tuned specifically for Java, it had some high-level operations to streamline tasks like generating proxy classes for calling web services based on a supplied WSDL file.