• DrPhil (cs)

    What I really want to know is did Jake Vinson and company every complete the 'Fantasy VII Killer'? I want to play!

  • kmactane (cs)

    So, where's the WTF? Junior Programmer (albeit with an inflated title) thinks he has a better way to do something. He tries it out, initially thinks it'll be better than sliced bread, but then he actually tests it out and discovers that it sucks. So he doesn't bother to deploy it, and both he and his boss learn from the experience.

    This is not a WTF. This is the kind of learning experience that every coder goes through as part of their development.

    I seem to vaguely recall that Daily WTFs are supposed to omit "student" code (which, admittedly, this wasn't; the guy had a job), and instead be drawn from code that is actually deployed in production systems. Given the story, this code was never deployed.

    Everyone writes some tragic mistakes on occasion, then wises up before checking them in to the repository. But if it ain't deployed, it shouldn't be a Daily WTF.

    The biggest WTF I see here is that a kid fresh out of high school was given the job title "Senior Programmer". But if the inflated job title is the biggest problem in the story, then giving the story the title of "WTF" is a similar sort of inflation.

  • DaveD (unregistered)

    Ten bucks says he tried to parse HTML with Regular Expressions.

  • dextron (cs) in reply to DaveD
    DaveD:
    Ten bucks says he tried to parse HTML with Regular Expressions.
    Article:
    ...It was a messy amalgam of regular expressions surrounded by "clever" Perl code...

    D'oh!

  • Outlaw Programmer (cs)

    I guess The Real WTF here is that his program did nothing but managed to crash anyway. On the plus side, it did crash 100x faster than the regular parser!

    OK...we're really skimming the bottom of the barrel here...

  • SomeCoder (unregistered)

    While I generally agree with the comments here about this not being a WTF, the REAL WTF in my opinion is the fact that people like Stephen get hired and are lauded as geniuses while people who are actually talented get passed over.

    Seen it happen more than once.

  • Grovesy (cs) in reply to kmactane

    It's filed under 'featured article' and not 'code sod', 'error'ed' etc.. So, yes I just see this as a story about someone’s early learning’s as software developer... If you don’t like reading featured articles, Alex’s Soap Box etc, I believe you can simply filter them out on the RSS feed.?

  • krupa (unregistered)

    I liked this article. Not every WTF needs to be something that lets you laugh at someone else's mistakes. The fact of the matter is that Stephen learned a lesson that a lot of experienced programmers haven't: clever code isn't always good/better/correct code.

  • blatant ripoff (unregistered) in reply to Outlaw Programmer

    I've come to notice a trend on TDWTF...

    1. An article, or "comic", gets posted.
    2. People write bad things in the comments, complaining about the article or "comic".
    3. The impression is given that people are not happy with the article or "comic".

    My solution...

    1. Don't post any articles or "comics".
    2. No bad things are written.
    3. Everyone is "happy".

    Brillant.

  • DeLos (cs)

    The lesson as usual. Don't re-invent the wheel.

    You know, unless it really needs to be done.

  • DaveAronson (cs)

    The previous posters are missing the point of articles like this. These are meant to raise our hopes that there may be some sanity in this industry, other of course than this (ahem) collection of lone voices in the wilderness.

    Think what happens when you then read one of the normal articles.

    Everybody knows that the higher you throw something down from, the harder it hits bottom and the more it hurts....

  • Grovesy (cs) in reply to blatant ripoff
    blatant ripoff:
    I've come to notice a trend on TDWTF...
    1. An article, or "comic", gets posted.
    2. People write bad things in the comments, complaining about the article or "comic".
    3. The impression is given that people are not happy with the article or "comic".

    My solution...

    1. Don't post any articles or "comics".
    2. No bad things are written.
    3. Everyone is "happy".

    Brillant.

    Another solution.

    Main Flow: 1.) An article, or "comic", is posted. 2.) People like articles and/or comics 3.) They read the article / comic

    Alternate Flow, Occurs instead of step 2 1.) People don't like articles and / or comics 2.) They move on and read something else

    Everyone is happy!

  • Pyro (unregistered)

    Riiiighhhht, if something is written in C it must be too slow compared to interpreted language like Perl. If you'd like to optimize something written by someone who knows what he's doing in C you'd have to rewrite it in assembler, no less.

  • sweavo (unregistered)

    pretty funny that he bench-tested the empty loop and went ahead and integrated without looking at the output!

    Not a WTF, but more fun to read than complaining comments :-P

  • Outlaw Programmer (cs) in reply to Pyro
    Pyro:
    Riiiighhhht, if something is written in C it must be too slow compared to interpreted language like Perl. If you'd like to optimize something written by someone who knows what he's doing in C you'd have to rewrite it in assembler, no less.

    It wasn't that the C code was slow, it was the developer thought that he remembered someone saying something about calling C from Perl is slow. That was one of the WTFs; he assumed something was slow without actually testing it out or doing any research.

    But you're right, the guy that wrote this HTMLParser thing was probably an expert on the subject and it's silly to think that you can top him by whipping something up in a few days.

  • Zylon (cs)

    TRWTF is the horrible black-on-dark-grey color scheme of the "Featured" comments. Second only to the WTF'ery of the Featured Comments system itself. I'm still not at all clear on what it's supposed to accomplish.

  • KattMan (cs) in reply to blatant ripoff
    blatant ripoff:
    1. Don't post any articles or "comics".
    2. No bad things are written.
    3. Everyone is "happy".
    1. ...
    2. PROFIT!
  • dkf (unregistered) in reply to Pyro
    Pyro:
    Riiiighhhht, if something is written in C it must be too slow compared to interpreted language like Perl.
    Only if the author knows what they're doing. It's far too easy to create code that's terribly slow in C, despite the language being "fast". (A prime example is being stupid about string handling...)
    Pyro:
    If you'd like to optimize something written by someone who knows what he's doing in C you'd have to rewrite it in assembler, no less.
    Everyone who reads this site should know that "knows what he's doing" is a really significant precondition on a statement...
  • Stupidumb (cs) in reply to kmactane
    kmactane:
    So, where's the WTF? Junior Programmer (albeit with an inflated title) thinks he has a better way to do something. He tries it out, initially thinks it'll be better than sliced bread, but then he actually tests it out and discovers that it sucks. So he doesn't bother to deploy it, and both he and his boss learn from the experience.

    This is not a WTF. This is the kind of learning experience that every coder goes through as part of their development.

    I seem to vaguely recall that Daily WTFs are supposed to omit "student" code (which, admittedly, this wasn't; the guy had a job), and instead be drawn from code that is actually deployed in production systems. Given the story, this code was never deployed.

    Everyone writes some tragic mistakes on occasion, then wises up before checking them in to the repository. But if it ain't deployed, it shouldn't be a Daily WTF.

    The biggest WTF I see here is that a kid fresh out of high school was given the job title "Senior Programmer". But if the inflated job title is the biggest problem in the story, then giving the story the title of "WTF" is a similar sort of inflation.

    What is with everyone here trying to decide/define what this website is about.

    "A WTF is this..", "That's not a WTF..." "These, AND ONLY THESE, are the conditions for a WTF...".

    This site has a theme, although some people try to rate everything too stringently.

    Here is a general guideline: Curious perversions in information technology. I know most of you missed that part. It was tucked away in the back of the website.

    Here come comments on this comment: "That is not a 'real' comment because it didn't have x amount of characters and 2 sentences where too short and the font is wrong."

  • A Nonny Mouse (cs) in reply to blatant ripoff
    blatant ripoff:
    I've come to notice a trend on TDWTF...

    ...snip...

    I think this article is a fine example of Perls before the (s)whine.

  • Stupidumb (cs) in reply to Zylon
    Zylon:
    TRWTF is the horrible black-on-dark-grey color scheme of the "Featured" comments. Second only to the WTF'ery of the Featured Comments system itself. I'm still not at all clear on what it's supposed to accomplish.

    Are you sure it's that much of a dark background? You must be one of those guys who wears sunglasses indoors.

    As for what the Featured Comments system is for, it's: A System for Featuring Comments. They probably should have thought of a better name like "Nitro Word Displayer".

  • John Cowan (unregistered) in reply to DeLos

    In particular, reinventors of wheels tend to simplify pi to 3, and thus their wheels come out hexagonal -- pretty enough, but not very functional.

  • WhiskeyJack (cs)

    Aww. I love stories with happy endings.

  • FredSaw (cs) in reply to John Cowan
    John Cowan:
    In particular, reinventors of wheels tend to simplify pi to 3, and thus their wheels come out hexagonal -- pretty enough, but not very functional.
    Don't be ridiculous. Of course it's functional. In fact, it saves you the trouble of locating blocks to put under your 1972 rusty Ford pickup yard decoration.
  • If you have to explain it... (unregistered)

    Oh come on, who here at one time or another hasn't gotten 1000 lines into writing some brillant idea only to realize that there's another way to do it in only 30 LOC?

  • Anonymous Cowherd (unregistered) in reply to DaveAronson

    No no no, things eventually hit a terminal velocity of failure, they don't just keep accelerating as they fall!

  • brazzy (cs) in reply to kmactane
    kmactane:
    So, where's the WTF? Junior Programmer (albeit with an inflated title) thinks he has a better way to do something.
    The WTF is that he thought this based on a vaguely-remembered performance myth and decided to spend major wheel-reinventing efforts apparently without even considering doing some research - and nobody questioned this.

    You're right, it's not much of a WTF. When it comes to performance myths, this is standard operating procedure.

  • Salami (cs) in reply to If you have to explain it...
    If you have to explain it...:
    Oh come on, who here at one time or another hasn't gotten 1000 lines into writing some brillant idea only to realize that there's another way to do it in only 30 LOC?

    Some of us are too lazy to write 1000 LOC.

  • veniam (unregistered) in reply to DeLos
    DeLos:
    The lesson as usual. Don't re-invent the wheel.

    You know, unless it really needs to be done.

    Or management makes you because their wheel has flashy rims and spinners designed by graphic artist that "The user 'will love!' because it's not 'old' and normal looking." Only till after building the wheel you find out you need to reinvent the bearing (from scratch) so your wheel will function almost as good as the standard metal functional wheel included in the wheel library, which by the way is easier to use and takes 30seconds to add to your code.

  • veniam (enim) (unregistered) in reply to If you have to explain it...
    If you have to explain it...:
    Oh come on, who here at one time or another hasn't gotten 1000 lines into writing some brillant idea only to realize that there's another way to do it in only 30 LOC?

    Some of us know if your writing 1000 LOC to do some function there is most generally a better way written by someone else that was much better and smarter than us. ;)

  • Zylon (cs) in reply to Stupidumb
    Stupidumb:
    As for what the Featured Comments system is for, it's: A System for Featuring Comments.
    In its current incarnation it's nothing more than a system for displaying randomly-selected posts out of context.

    I will grant that it's less annoying than Mandatory Fun Day, but like MFD, it's something that DailyWTF would in no way be lessened by its absence.

  • bramster (unregistered)

    At 10 bucks/hour, you get the title "Senior Developer".

    At 20 bucks/hour, you're only a "programmer".

    Do you want the raise, or do you want the title?

  • KattMan (cs) in reply to bramster
    bramster:
    At 10 bucks/hour, you get the title "Senior Developer".

    At 20 bucks/hour, you're only a "programmer".

    Do you want the raise, or do you want the title?

    At 5 bucks/hour you work in a dimly lit bar with wenches dressed in pirate clothes.

    How bad do you want the money?

  • Pete (unregistered)

    More on the FFVII tangent than the actual article, but this reminds me of the time my brother decided to code one of those "Choose your own adventure" books.

    For whatever reason, he decided the most important part of the project was getting the book into the PC (this was early 80's, before cheap scanners and OCR), so he diligently started typing it out. All my questions of "How are you going to handle the fights?" and "How will you handle the inventory?" etc. fell on deaf ears. Needless to say, by the time he was done he'd lost all interest in actually making a game.

    I guess that's why he's a financial manager and earns twice my salary now.

  • OJ (unregistered) in reply to Pyro
    Pyro:
    Riiiighhhht, if something is written in C it must be too slow compared to interpreted language like Perl. If you'd like to optimize something written by someone who knows what he's doing in C you'd have to rewrite it in assembler, no less.

    Actually, where I work, a system written in Assembler was replaced with one written in C. The one written in C was considerably faster, even with lot of features that is not used in that product.

  • realmerlyn (cs)

    At first I thought this article was about my book (http://www.amazon.com/Randal-Schwartzs-Perls-Wisdom-Schwartz/dp/1590593235)!

    However, yes, anyone who avoids using HTML::Parser (or the HTML mode of XML::LibXML) to parse HTML some other way is just being foolish.

  • balls (unregistered)

    Yeah, WTF.

    Lesson: don't ever take risks and don't try to learn anything new.

    If people didn't try to reinvent the wheel, we'd still be stuck using bubble sort :)

  • Familiar (unregistered)
    but he'd heard somewhere that calls from Perl to C were unusable

    I wish I had a penny for every time I'd seen something goofy being done because: "Oh, I remember hearing from a guy who took a class a few years ago whose professor told a story about a co-worker who said you can't do X."

    (Yeah, we've all done it... But some of us stop doing that after a while.)

  • Simetrical (cs) in reply to Zylon
    Zylon:
    Stupidumb:
    As for what the Featured Comments system is for, it's: A System for Featuring Comments.
    In its current incarnation it's nothing more than a system for displaying randomly-selected posts out of context.

    I will grant that it's less annoying than Mandatory Fun Day, but like MFD, it's something that DailyWTF would in no way be lessened by its absence.

    Personally, I quite like reading the handful of posts every day when I visit TDWTF. I previously didn't bother reading the comments at all, usually, because there were too many and a lot were repetitive or uninteresting. Whoever selects the featured ones does a pretty good job.

    Of course, TRWTF is still that we're using a neolithic commenting system that doesn't allow, e.g., subscribing for responses.

  • M.C. Sarbanes-Oxalot (unregistered) in reply to Stupidumb
    Stupidumb:
    "A WTF is this..", "That's not a WTF..." "These, AND ONLY THESE, are the conditions for a WTF...".

    This site has a theme, although some people try to rate everything too stringently.

    Here is a general guideline: Curious perversions in information technology. I know most of you missed that part. It was tucked away in the back of the website.

    Here come comments on this comment: "That is not a 'real' comment because it didn't have x amount of characters and 2 sentences where too short and the font is wrong."

    as long as the post is

    1. at least purportedly not fiction
    2. somehow related to development or IT

    you won't hear any complaints from me.

    however is this article a dupe? or did i read it in the sidebar a few weeks ago...?

  • sf (unregistered) in reply to realmerlyn
    Comment held for moderation.
  • mimimo (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • GrandmasterB (unregistered)
    Clever coding isn't worth it.

    That should be tatoo'ed on the back of the hands of every new programmer.

  • Dan (unregistered)

    I'm sorry, but I just don't believe that even the most junior programmer can possibly get to the stage of demo-ing code without realising that it doesn't work. And not in the way of 'has a few bugs that need looking at' doesn't work, or even 'has a major bug that makes it spaz out' doesn't work, but in the way of 'doesn't do anything' doesn't work.

    TRWTF is that he tried to show it off before he checked whether it worked.

  • Stupidumb (cs) in reply to Zylon
    Zylon:
    Stupidumb:
    As for what the Featured Comments system is for, it's: A System for Featuring Comments.
    In its current incarnation it's nothing more than a system for displaying randomly-selected posts out of context.

    I don't think it's random. I remember reading somewhere that they are selected by someone.

  • KattMan (cs) in reply to Stupidumb
    Stupidumb:
    Zylon:
    Stupidumb:
    As for what the Featured Comments system is for, it's: A System for Featuring Comments.
    In its current incarnation it's nothing more than a system for displaying randomly-selected posts out of context.

    I don't think it's random. I remember reading somewhere that they are selected by someone.

    If SpectateSwamp selected them, then they are truly random.

  • sf (unregistered) in reply to Dan
    Dan:
    I'm sorry, but I just don't believe that even the most junior programmer can possibly get to the stage of demo-ing code without realising that it doesn't work. And not in the way of 'has a few bugs that need looking at' doesn't work, or even 'has a major bug that makes it spaz out' doesn't work, but in the way of 'doesn't do anything' doesn't work.

    TRWTF is that he tried to show it off before he checked whether it worked.

    Perhaps another WTF is that the empty implementation he had STILL took 200ms to run.

  • VonSkippy (unregistered)

    So what happened to the game?

  • Email (unregistered) in reply to SomeCoder
    SomeCoder:
    While I generally agree with the comments here about this not being a WTF, the REAL WTF in my opinion is the fact that people like Stephen get hired and are lauded as geniuses while people who are actually talented get passed over.

    Seen it happen more than once.

    Are you saying that Stephen isn't talented? Disagreed. It was extremely foolish of him to think that calling C functions via Perl is slow, but I think that should be excused for now, since the rest of his code seems to have worked well ...

  • brazzy (cs) in reply to sf
    sf:
    Perhaps another WTF is that the empty implementation he had STILL took 200ms to run.
    Not really. Interpreted language, remember? As startup time for an interpreter and loading all the necessary libraries, 200ms is impressively short.

Leave a comment on “Perls of Wisdom”

Log In or post as a guest

Replying to comment #177829:

« Return to Article