Recent Articles

Oct 2022

Brillant Perls

by in CodeSOD on

Many years ago, a Paula Bean type was hired to make a Perl-based website. It became the company's flagship product, at least briefly, until a better version of the product was ready. But early adopters adopted it, and thus it had to keep operating, because you can't throw a way a 800kLOC web application just because it's fragile and unmaintainable.

And then the site got hacked. So now, fixing everything becomes incredibly important, and the task fell to Erik. He needed to do a security audit and identify vulnerabilities. Alone. In a 800kLOC application of extremely questionable code quality. For bonus challenges, there is no testing environment available and no budget to stand one up- even if anyone knew exactly what actually needs to be in that environment, because there's a bunch of databases and packages and extra software and no one is entirely sure what the production environment is.

Throw it $$OUT

by in CodeSOD on

If there's one thing worse in code than magic numbers, it's magic strings. Sean inherited an antique Visual C++ application, and the previous developers were very careful to make sure every string was a named constant.

const char $$B[] = "$$B"; const char $$E[] = "$$E"; const char $$L[] = "$$L"; const char $$IN[] = "$$IN"; const char $$OUT[] = "$$OUT"; const char $CODE[] = "$CODE"; const char $ENDE[] = "$ENDE";

Unification of Strings

by in CodeSOD on

As a general rule of thumb, when you see a class called StringConverter you know something is going to be wrong in there. That's at least what Erik thought when examining a bug in a totally different section of string handling code that just happened to depend on StringConverter.

StringConverter might sound like some sort of utility belt class with a huge pile of methods in it, but no- it's only got two. So we should take a look at both.

Special Validation

by in Feature Articles on

Wireless Router (50841204223)

Ah, routers. The one piece of networking hardware that seems inescapable; even the most tech-illiterate among us needs to interface with their router at least once, to set up their home network so they can access the internet. Router technology has changed a lot over the years, including how you interface with the admin portal: instead of having to navigate to a specific IP address, some of them have you navigate to a URL that is intercepted by the router and redirected to the admin interface, making it easier for laymen to recall. But routers have their share of odd problems. I recently had to buy a new one because the one I was using was incompatible with my company's VPN for cryptic reasons even helpdesk had no real understanding of.