Recent Representative Line

A single line of code from a large application that somehow manages to provide an almost endless insight into the pain that its maintainers face each day.

May 2020

Don't Negate Me

by in Representative Line on

There are certain problem domains where we care more about the results and the output than the code itself. Gaming is the perfect example: game developers write "bad" code because clarity, readability, maintainability are often subordinate to schedules and the needs of a fun game. The same is true for scientific research: that incomprehensible blob of Fortran was somebody's PhD thesis, and it proved fundamental facts about the universe, so maybe don't judge it on how well written it is.

Sometimes, finance falls into similar place. Often, the software being developer has to implement obtuse business rules that accreted over decades of operation; sometimes it's trying to be a predictive model; sometimes a pointy-haired-boss got upset about how a dashboard looked and asked for the numbers to get fudged.

Separate Replacements

by in Representative Line on

There's bad date handling code. There's bad date formatting code. There's bad date handling code that abuses date formatting to stringify dates. There are cases where the developer clearly doesn't know the built-in date methods, and cases where they did, but clearly just didn't want to use them.

There's plenty of apocalypticly bad date handling options, but honestly, that gets a little boring after awhile. My personal favorite will always be the near misses. Code that almost, but not quite, "gets it".