• snoofle (cs)

    AAAAAAAAAEEEEEEEEEEEEIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

    I too, thought it was a circuit diagram. But complex diagrams do crop up for complex systems (that's another rant). However, making the diagram the workflow itself raises WTF to a whole new level. We now have: Zen WTF !!!

  • Jesus Christ (unregistered)

    This is an abomination in the name of the lord.

  • merreborn (cs) in reply to Jesus Christ

    Here's one for the "Best of TDW" list.


    Epic.

  • Anon (unregistered)

    Hey, its pretty simple.
    Just put your finger on the screen and follow all the lines. 


    CAPTCHA = batman

  • BigRed (unregistered)

    My face just melted, ark-of-the-covenant style.  I don't want to know how much the consultants were paid to come up with this monstrosity, but I know it would make me weep.

    For shame.

  • Jesse (unregistered)

    Well, at least the spec diagrams are in sync with the code....

  • snoofle (cs) in reply to merreborn

    Actually, I'm probably missing the worst of it, as I know nothing about javascript. Can anyone clue me in as to what makes that part of it bad?

  • The Great Lobachevsky (unregistered)

    I created this exact workflow diagram by simply hooking the logic circuits of a Bambleweeny 57 sub-meson Brain to an atomic vector plotter suspended in a strong Brownian Motion producer (say a nice hot cup of tea).

  • Anon (unregistered)

    Looks like the etcha-sketch drawing I made when I was a kid.

    CAPTCHA: whiskey

  • Anon (unregistered)

    "And BizTalk was born!"

  • rocksanddirt (unregistered)

    Somewhere out there right now, Martin Fowler is suffering a migrane headache

  • Zemyla (cs)

    See, this is why you don't design systems so that they can be maintained by unskilled users.  Because then unskilled users will maintain them.

  • Anonymous (unregistered)

    Whats up with the happy face picture?
    Obviously that isn't John.

    CAPTCHA: craptastic

  • Anon (unregistered) in reply to snoofle

        Well, it runs entirely in a browser and is viewable by the user for starters.

  • KattMan (unregistered) in reply to snoofle

    snoofle:
    Actually, I'm probably missing the worst of it, as I know nothing about javascript. Can anyone clue me in as to what makes that part of it bad?

    It is not the fact that it was javascript that made it bad, but if you read into this there was a whole system coded in some language (who cares what it was right now) that allowed for tweaks to be written in javascript.  What essentially happened was that the underlying code now no longer does anything since the new javascript layer on top is doing everything.  So there is now two layers of WTF interacting on some ungodly level.

    Or at least that is what I got out of the last few paragraphs. 

    [ED: You're correct -- that's exactly what I wanted to convey]

  • snoofle (cs) in reply to Anonymous

    Anonymous:
    Whats up with the happy face picture?
    Obviously that isn't John.

    CAPTCHA: craptastic

    The happy face is what's generated when the yellow work flow box gets executed.

  • Benzaholic (unregistered) in reply to snoofle
    snoofle

    Actually, I'm probably missing the worst of it, as I know nothing about javascript. Can anyone clue me in as to what makes that part of it bad?

    Notice in the zoomed in one that it's paying attention to particular states (geographic, not existential). Doesn't that smell an awful lot like what our hero was asked to do with a separate tool?<p>

    Moral: Nobody in power appears to know how the Customer-Friendly system really works.<p>


    EEEEEK!! Captcha=billgates

  • snoofle (cs) in reply to KattMan
    KattMan:

    snoofle:
    Actually, I'm probably missing the worst of it, as I know nothing about javascript. Can anyone clue me in as to what makes that part of it bad?

    It is not the fact that it was javascript that made it bad, but if you read into this there was a whole system coded in some language (who cares what it was right now) that allowed for tweaks to be written in javascript.  What essentially happened was that the underlying code now no longer does anything since the new javascript layer on top is doing everything.  So there is now two layers of WTF interacting on some ungodly level.

    Or at least that is what I got out of the last few paragraphs. 

    Captcha=WTF (how appropriate)

    I sort-of got that too - I guess my brain just couldn't process even the description of that sort of design. (Thanks)

  • Digitalbath (cs) in reply to snoofle

    snoofle:
    Actually, I'm probably missing the worst of it, as I know nothing about javascript. Can anyone clue me in as to what makes that part of it bad?

    Hmm...I'll take a shot.

    First, there is the always bad "javascript form validation" as javascript can be turned off and what not.  I have never written a UI completely in javascipt and don't even know how to go about attempting that, but I'm pretty sure it's a terrible idea.  Filtering out Iowa specific data should not be happening in the UI.  It should be happening in some sort of business layer, I would imagine.  Also, although not javascript related,  I think any system that requires 6 months of training should throw up a red flag.

  • snoofle (cs) in reply to Benzaholic
    Benzaholic:

    Moral: Nobody in power appears to know how the Customer-Friendly system really works.

    Isn't this kind of true for most complex systems, customer-friendly or not?

  • KattMan (unregistered) in reply to Benzaholic
    Anonymous:
    snoofle

    Actually, I'm probably missing the worst of it, as I know nothing about javascript. Can anyone clue me in as to what makes that part of it bad?

    Notice in the zoomed in one that it's paying attention to particular states (geographic, not existential). Doesn't that smell an awful lot like what our hero was asked to do with a separate tool?

    Moral: Nobody in power appears to know how the Customer-Friendly system really works.


    EEEEEK!! Captcha=billgates

    Agh!  Good catch, I totally missed that part.  Yet one more WTF to be added to the list here.

  • Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Over. (at work) (unregistered)

    You know, I met/attended a lecture by Bran Selic at UML / Design World 2005 in Texas, and he went on and on about executable UML and the metamodel for UML 2.0.

    I imagine that diagrams/systems like this are the sort of thing that he dreams about.

     

    *shudder*

  • Digitalbath (cs) in reply to Zemyla

    Zemyla:
    See, this is why you don't design systems so that they can be maintained by unskilled users.  Because then unskilled users will maintain them.

    Well said.  I was thinking after i read "even the most technically unskilled end-user could easily and and modify" that we were heading for a huge xml WTF.  But this one is pretty darn good too.

  • foxyshadis (unregistered) in reply to Jesse
    Anonymous:

    Well, at least the spec diagrams are in sync with the code....


    Instead of "The code is the spec" comment from yesterday, it's "The spec is the code". =D

    Seriously, this is the only thing that can top "It's working as coded."
  • R.Flowers (cs)
    Alex Papadimoulis:

    Obviously, no end user ever saw or touched these diagrams. Though the "proof of concept" was simple enough for a "technically unskilled" user, changing the workflow logic on the full-developed system required a highly-trained programmer...


    Oh, why not? Obviously, we just need to give the user a user-friendly way of manipulating the diagram! All we need is JavaScript, some AJAX and XML, and some cute graphics to shuffle around on the screen... ;^)

    Alex Papadimoulis:

    And what was John's simple UI change?, you might ask. It was to "use the [JavaScript] HTML Parser (/inc/p2/v/hparser.js) to filter out Iowa-specific text before it's passed to the page renderer (/inc/p2/v/hrenderer.js)."


    Can someone tell me what "Iowa-specific" means here? I read the article, but I see only one mention of Iowa.
  • Skeeter S. Deskeet (cs) in reply to Benzaholic

    Good God! That takes enterprisey to a whole new plane of existence.

  • Michael Casadevall (cs)

    UGH, Alex, how about a little warning, I just ate lunch and it feels like its about to come shooting back up.

    I've seen Access misused as real databases, but this might just qualify for worst abuse of an Office product bar none.

  • Dazed (unregistered) in reply to Zemyla

    Ah, this brings back memories. One of the first systems I met was claimed to be easily configurable by people with no programming knowledge. Well, a team of two experienced developers plus a couple of not-yet-cynical young IT graduates finally managed to knock it into shape after the best part of a year. We wrote a document explaining how to get around all the quirks, bugs, awkwardnesses and undocumented features - IIRC it was about 40 pages.

    Mind you, it wasn't as bad as this one appears to be.

  • drdamour (cs) in reply to Digitalbath
    Digitalbath:

    Hmm...I'll take a shot.

    First, there is the always bad "javascript form validation" as javascript can be turned off and what not.  I have never written a UI completely in javascipt and don't even know how to go about attempting that, but I'm pretty sure it's a terrible idea. 

    Actually, these types of apps are used on intranets, on corporate machines, that hava scripts on, and are LOCKED in the on state. At least for the "intranet" zone.

  • drdamour (cs)

    For a giant thin client app such as this, putting a lot of the logic in the Javascript layer can be a real advantage. Especially when you're an outside company.

    Most internal IT guys won't let you think about modifying compiled code, and now ASP/PHP pages are mostly untouchable, but when you just tell them you need to change some JScript around they let you have a free reign.

    It's a real world solution for a real world.

  • Disgruntled DBA (cs) in reply to The Great Lobachevsky
    I created this exact workflow diagram by simply hooking the logic circuits of a Bambleweeny 57 sub-meson Brain to an atomic vector plotter suspended in a strong Brownian Motion producer (say a nice hot cup of tea).

    That's pretty improbable, if you ask me....
  • Frequency (unregistered)

    How can any one person, let alone a group of person sit in a room and go hey that was an excellent idea...

    CAPTCHA = awesomeness

  • KattMan (unregistered) in reply to Frequency

    Anonymous:
    How can any one person, let alone a group of person sit in a room and go hey that was an excellent idea...

    CAPTCHA = awesomeness

    It was an excellent idea.  The execution of that idea was the part that was flawed.  Any time you can develop a system that releives your developers of the mundane task of changing the flow of a peice of paper from desk A to desk B it is good.  It's when you relinguish all control of logic to others that things get bad.  Some architects (if you really want to call the designers of this monstrosity that) just don't know when to stop.

  • inglorion (unregistered)

    So this is how easy visual programming makes things. I'll have something to show my debating opponents next time. Does anyone have a good example from how visual programming made a complex program easier to understand?

    Whoops...I can get into this box without the mouse...but I can't seem to get out of it (my mouse is b0rken).

  • Kurtz (unregistered)

    It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror. Horror has a face, and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and mortal terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared.

  • Saarus (cs)

    This sort of WTFery amazes me. It's the second example I've seen (but only the first of its kind on TDWTF) of so many levels of thinking, so brilliantly flawed that it's impossible to wrap my mind around it. The whole concept just sort of... slips away.

    I'm working with a system with a similar level of WTFery, although the WTFery comes about in a different way. I can't really explain it technically, and I doubt even the creators could, by now.

    Imagine a MxMxM Rubik's Cube, M larger than, say, 20, and the cube starts out solved. Make a minor change through the interface, and you've just made one turn of the cube, and everything gets slightly messed up. After N such changes, it is completely impossible for a human being to figure anything out.

    The system itself can't even seem to figure it out, for that matter. After trying to make sense of this application for some weeks, my team lead finally asked the original developers, "Why? Why would you do this?"

    The answer? "Because it was fun to build."

    I'm glad I wasn't there for it. I have difficulty holding my tongue in such situations, and in any case I felt like slapping someone.

    It brings me great relief to see that there exists a system such as this, The Customer-Friendly System. At least now I know that the sort of idiotic genius that can design such WTFs is not unique.

  • Debbus (unregistered)

    I never knew that Visio can do that!?

    Can't wait till monday to try it out! This is not a WTF, it's the future!

  • Saarus (cs) in reply to Saarus
    Saarus:
    This sort of WTFery amazes me. It's the second example I've seen (but only the first of its kind on TDWTF) of so many levels of thinking, so brilliantly flawed that it's impossible to wrap my mind around it. The whole concept just sort of... slips away.

    I'm working with a system with a similar level of WTFery, although the WTFery comes about in a different way. I can't really explain it technically, and I doubt even the creators could, by now.

    Imagine a MxMxM Rubik's Cube, M larger than, say, 20, and the cube starts out solved. Make a minor change through the interface, and you've just made one turn of the cube, and everything gets slightly messed up. After N such changes, it is completely impossible for a human being to figure anything out.

    The system itself can't even seem to figure it out, for that matter. After trying to make sense of this application for some weeks, my team lead finally asked the original developers, "Why? Why would you do this?"

    The answer? "Because it was fun to build."

    I'm glad I wasn't there for it. I have difficulty holding my tongue in such situations, and in any case I felt like slapping someone.

    It brings me great relief to see that there exists a system such as this, The Customer-Friendly System. At least now I know that the sort of idiotic genius that can design such WTFs is not unique.

    I'll add that although the interface of this application has WTFs worthy of posting here, everything appears to work as it should. It's under the hood that the cube gets rotated. There's virtually no way to retrieve any data that makes sense.

  • Dude (unregistered) in reply to Saarus

    The real WTF is that someone tried to colorcode the diagram.

  • Dazed (unregistered) in reply to Frequency
    Anonymous:
    How can any one person, let alone a group of person sit in a room and go hey that was an excellent idea...

    As the write-up hints, it probably did look a pretty good idea - maybe it even was a good idea - with a workflow having a dozen steps. But consideration of scaling issues seems to have been skimped somewhat.

    To put it mildly.

  • Kiasyn (unregistered)

    ...where does it even start??

  • Digitalbath (cs) in reply to drdamour
    drdamour:

    For a giant thin client app such as this, putting a lot of the logic in the Javascript layer can be a real advantage. Especially when you're an outside company.

    Most internal IT guys won't let you think about modifying compiled code, and now ASP/PHP pages are mostly untouchable, but when you just tell them you need to change some JScript around they let you have a free reign.

    It's a real world solution for a real world.

    Are you speaking from personal experience?  You have been in a situation where you have been brought in from outside a company to fix/modify a system and the only code you can touch is the javascript?  If so, that seems quite weird to me.  "Come fix this code without touching it."

  • dtfinch (cs)

    We use a system that has 30 years of complexity behind it, and it's written in COBOL. It's claimed many souls.

  • Shaved Regressor (unregistered)

    I was involved on a similar project.

    We were developing a game framework and editor aimed at low-level programmers, or even technically savvy non-programmers. Our lead architect was convinced that all game logic must be driven by state machines, because he thought it was more elegant. He also thought that non-programmers would find state machines easy to work with. He designed an editor where everything was represented in heirarchical tree views. By his plan, even state machine nodes would only be visible as entries in a tree view.

    I fought tooth and nail against his UI and extreme state machine ideas, but was a junior programmer at the time, and was basically ignored. I did get permission to add a visual rendering of the state machine, which helped a bit.

    When our product was finally released, it ended up being (suprise) a real pain to work with. One guy actually called the game editor a "steaming pile" in front of the managers. Our lead architect was fired.

    Kids, todays lesson is that programming is programming, even if you make it visual. In fact visual programming can be even more confusing than a simple scripting language. Do some actual testing with users (another of my ideas that was shot down).

  • dbell (unregistered)

    Say what you will... at least it's documented.

  • peterchen (unregistered)

    Hats off for the idea, though.

     

    captcha = chocobot :-)

  • snoofle (cs) in reply to Kiasyn

    kaisyn:
    ...where does it even start??

    See here

  • AliceInDilbertLand (cs)

    My eyes! My eyes!

  • Bus Raker (cs) in reply to KattMan
    Anonymous:

    snoofle:
    Actually, I'm probably missing the worst of it, as I know nothing about javascript. Can anyone clue me in as to what makes that part of it bad?

    It is not the fact that it was javascript that made it bad, but if you read into this there was a whole system coded in some language (who cares what it was right now) that allowed for tweaks to be written in javascript.  What essentially happened was that the underlying code now no longer does anything since the new javascript layer on top is doing everything.  So there is now two layers of WTF interacting on some ungodly level.

    Sounds like a good definition for 'enterprise'

  • Philbert Desanex (unregistered)

    This must have been made with the Google ad:

    <FONT face=Verdana><FONT size=1>Reliability Block Diagram </FONT></FONT><FONT face=Verdana><FONT size=1>software.  Easy to use, yet capable of extremely complex diagrams.</FONT></FONT>

     

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