Remy Porter

Remy is a veteran developer who provides software for architectural installations with IonTank.

He's often on stage, doing improv comedy, but insists that he isn't doing comedy- it's deadly serious. You're laughing at him, not with him. That, by the way, is usually true- you're laughing at him, not with him.

Assert Yourself

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Chris V does compliance testing. This often means they trace through logic in code to ensure that very specific conditions about the code’s behavior and logic are met. This creates unusual situations, where they might have access to specific and relevant pieces of code, but not the entire codebase. If they spot something unusual, but not within the boundaries of their compliance tests, they just pass on by it.

One of the C++ code bases Chris had to go through featured this “defensive” pattern everywhere.

One Way to Solve a Bug

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Startups go through a number of phases, and one specific phase is the transition from "just get it done and worry about the consequences tomorrow" into "wait, maybe if we actually did some planning and put some process around what we do, we won't constantly be one step behind the current disaster."

And that's when they start to hire people who have more management experience, but are also technical enough that they can contribute to the product directly. At BK's company, the latest hire in that category is Sylvester.

The Most Secure Option

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“The auditors have finished examining our codebase.”

That was how Randy’s boss started the meeting, and she delivered the line like a doctor who just got the tests back, and is trying to break the news gently.

Time Dilation

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A good variable name is clear and specific about what the variable does. But sometimes you can have a variable name that's perhaps a little too specific. Victoria found this representative line of Rust code:

let threeseconds = time::Duration::from_secs(60);

A Botched Escape

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Nancy was recently handed a pile of "modern" PHP that weighs in at tens of thousands of lines of code.

This is how every query is executed:

Tern Down Service

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In C, it’s not uncommon to define a macro like this one:

#define MIN(a,b) (a>b?b:a)

To Be Random Enough

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A long time ago, when I was first learning about databases, one of the points brought up was the difference between a "natural key" and a "surrogate key". A natural key was a unique identifier which already existed in your dataset, and surrogate keys were those you made up- UUIDs or sequences or what have you.

As a best practice, even if you have a viable natural key, you should still use a surrogate key. There are exceptions, but it's usually preferable to employ a database key which you control to provide identity, especially one which has no meaning- because that means it'll never need to change values.

Enumerating Your Failures

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Rick was recently looking at some code from another team at his company. He noticed something odd in the code, so he pinged the team lead, Linda. “Did you spot this?”

“Oh, crap no,” Linda replied. “I should have caught this in code review, but I gotta be honest, Teddy is a bit… well, let’s just say I really should have caught that since I knew it was a Teddy commit.”