Recent Best of…

Our "best" articles of years past.

Dec 2020

Best of 2020: Web Server Installation

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While this year has felt endless, there are projects which will feel like they take forever. As we wrap up our tour of the best of 2020, let's visit an endless project. Original -- Remy

Connect the dots puzzle

Once upon a time, there lived a man named Eric. Eric was a programmer working for the online development team of a company called The Company. The Company produced Media; their headquarters were located on The Continent where Eric happily resided. Life was simple. Straightforward. Uncomplicated. Until one fateful day, The Company decided to outsource their infrastructure to The Service Provider on Another Continent for a series of complicated reasons that ultimately benefited The Budget.

Best of 2020: Science Is Science

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You do not need formal training from a compsci program or similar before you're allowed to be a developer. But sometimes, when your job role already contains "engineer" in the title, people think you can handle any engineering task. As we continue our review of the best of 2020, here's a tale of misapplied human resources. Original --Remy

Oil well

Bruce worked for a small engineering consultant firm providing custom software solutions for companies in the industrial sector. His project for CompanyX involved data consolidation for a new oil well monitoring system. It was a two-phased approach: Phase 1 was to get the raw instrument data into the cloud, and Phase 2 was to aggregate that data into a useful format.

Best of 2020: The Time-Delay Footgun

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As we revisit the best articles of 2020, have you been wondering why 2020 has been such a… colorful year? Maybe the developer responsible wrote a bad version check. Original --Remy

A few years back, Mike worked at Initech. Initech has two major products: the Initech Creator and the Initech Analyzer. The Creator, as the name implied, let you create things. The Analyzer could take what you made with the Creator and test them.

For business reasons, these were two separate products, and it was common for one customer to have many more Creator licenses than Analyzer licenses, or upgrade them each on a different cadence. But the Analyzer depended on the Creator, so someone might have two wildly different versions of both tools installed.

Best of 2020: Copy/Paste Culture

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As per usual, we'll be spending a few days looking back at some of our favorite stories of the year. We start with a visit to a place where copy/pasting isn't just common, it's part of the culture. Original -- Remy

Mark F had just gone to production on the first project at his new job: create a billables reconciliation report that an end-user had requested a few years ago. It was clearly not a high priority, which was exactly why it was the perfect items to assign a new programmer.

"Unfortunately," the end user reported, "it just doesn't seem to be working. It's running fine on test, but when I run it on the live site I'm getting a SELECT permission denied on the object fn_CalculateBusinessDays message. Any idea what that means?"