Recent CodeSOD

Code Snippet Of the Day (CodeSOD) features interesting and usually incorrect code snippets taken from actual production code in a commercial and/or open source software projects.

Dec 2021

Git Pull, for the Holidays

by in CodeSOD on

We're heading into the holiday season. We had some rather ambitious plans for a special Christmas event, but for a variety of reasons, all the various moving parts couldn't come together.

There's always next year, though. Instead of rehashing Christmas carols or doing our own parodies of holiday specials, I figured we should share one of the songs we wrote for that unfinished special event. It's got good advice for those of us heading into the holiday season: don't release anything to prod in the next few days.


Masking Errors

by in CodeSOD on

Dirk's employer bought some software from a vendor, and the vendor promised that it was a cutting edge system, which was pushing the boundaries of technology. Digging through the API documentation, Dirk definitely found some unusual innovations, like the way it tracked log levels:

[FlagsAttribute] public enum TraceEventType { NoTracing = 0, Critical = 1, Error = 2, Warning = 4, Information = 8, Verbose = 16 }

Again and Again

by in CodeSOD on

"It's a fix for a fix for a fix, apparently," writes Joan.

In this case, it's some Ruby code, which… gets a bit repetitive in that it repeats itself and does the same thing over and over again, in a repetitive fashion. Repeats.

Voicemail to Email to Nothing at All

by in CodeSOD on

Mike's co-worker doesn't like to write code that gets tightly coupled to one system. Everything should be completely abstracted so that, if something on the backend changes, your code doesn't need to change.

Which is an admirable goal, perhaps, but is also premature abstraction. For example, Mike's company uses Asterisk, an open-source PBX system. This co-worker wanted to script a few actions in that system, but didn't want his scripts to be tightly coupled to the system that he was scripting, so he… overgeneralized. But also didn't. But also did it wrong.

A Learning Opportunity

by in CodeSOD on

At various points in my career, I spent my days delivering technical training. If your company wanted to adopt a new technology, or upskill your developers, you'd hire me and I'd do crash course sessions. I generally didn't design course material: the books, slide decks, and labs. I just delivered the course. Most of the course material I worked with was pretty good, but there were some which were clearly written by people who were just trying to get a course out the door fast while a new technology was buzzwordy enough that nobody knew what they were buying.

I hated those courses.


by in CodeSOD on

Many years ago, Brian was on the lookout for a new contract. While hunting, he found an opportunity to maintain some Intranet software for a large European news agency. He contacted them, and had a series of conversations with one of the managers.

"You see," the manager explained, "Sven was the code guru behind this entire system. He was… a colorful personality, but extremely smart. We don't have a lot of confidence that we could just slot a contractor into his role and expect them to be able to deliver what Sven could deliver for us."

Just A Temporary Thing

by in CodeSOD on

Daniel inherited some code which depends heavily on stored procedures. The person who developed those stored procedures was incredibly fond of overengineering things. Incredibly fond.

The result is a big pile of not incredibly interesting T-SQL code. I'll share the whole block of code in a moment, but there's one specific comment that I want to highlight before we look at it:

Stop, Watch

by in CodeSOD on

On one hand, we should all be doing our revision tracking in our source control system, and we shouldn't let code comments tell the story of why or how the code changed. On the other, when it leaves us the history of WTFs in the current version of the code, it's actually delightful.

Take this anonymous submission, which includes the whole story of the code, all at once.

Dummy Round

by in CodeSOD on

Different languages will frequently have similar syntax. Many a pointy-haired-boss has seen this similarity and thus assumed that, if their programmer knows C, then C++ should be easy, and if they know C++ then going into C# must be trivial. I mean, the languages look the same, so they must be the same, right? Boats and cars are steered by wheels, so clearly if you can drive a car you can pilot a boat, and nothing will go wrong.

Andreas S inherited some code that started at C/C++ and was then ported to C#. The original developers were the sort to reinvent wheels wherever possible, so it's no surprise that they kept that going when they moved into C#.

A Split in the Database

by in CodeSOD on

Oracle is… special. While their core product is their database software, what they actually sell is layers and layers of ERPs and HR systems that run on top of that database. And what they really make money on is the consulting required to keep those monsters from eating your company's IT team alive.

Because these ERPs are meant to be all things to all customers, you also will find that there are a lot of columns named things like attribute3. Your company's custom logic can stuff anything you want in there. "Do as thou wilt," as they say. And suffer the consequences.

Two Comparisons, Hold the Case

by in CodeSOD on

There are a lot of times when we want string comparisons to be case insensitive. It's quite a lot of cases, so every language is going to give us a way to easily specify that's what we want.

Take, for example, this C# code, written by one of Robin's team-mates.