Mistakes From Out of the Blue

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"I got this email out of the blue from TI. By the way, my name isn't ALFONSO," writes Jamie.

Randomly Functional

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True random number generator

Jonathan T. had recently been afforded the opportunity to go back and tweak the very first Python-based CMS he'd ever built. Years earlier, he and another junior developer had been forced to cobble this site together with no code reviews, oversight, or help of any kind. Terrible choices had been made in the name of getting their work done.

An HTTP Code

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Peter B’s company didn’t have the resource availability to develop their new PHP application entirely in-house, and thus brought in a Highly Paid Contractor™ to oversee that project. This story could end here, and you could fill in the rest, but Peter found an… interesting block of code during the autopsy on this disaster.

Now, I want you to imagine that someone has handed you an integer. You need to know if that integer constitutes a valid HTTP status code. Now, this could get difficult, as just because a number falls between 100 and 599 doesn’t mean that it’s actually a defined status code. Then again, services may define their own status codes, and clients should understand the class of a status code, even if they don’t understand the number, so getting a 147 code isn’t wrong, so we can just probably assume any n where 100 <= n < 600 is valid enough.

Bank $Security

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Banks. They take your money and lend it to others. They lend money deposited by other people to you, either as a car loan, mortgage, or for credit card purchases. For this privilege, you give them all of your personal information, including your social security number. Implicit in that exchange is the fact that the bank should keep your personal information confidential. Security is important. One might think that such a concept would be important to banks. One would be wrong.

To be fair, the high ranking people at the banks probably believe that all of their customer information should be - and is - secure and protected. Unfortunately, there are multiple layers of middle and lower management (that we all know all too well) that might not comprehend that point.

A Passion for Details

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Passion projects are so common in our industry that there are some people who won’t hire you as a programmer if you’re not also programming in your free time. That’s TRWTF, honestly. There’s nothing wrong with being the kind of programmer who shows up for your 9–5 and then goes home and doesn’t touch a computer until the next day.

There’s also nothing wrong with passion projects. I have a bunch of them, usually carefully chosen to have absolutely no utility whatsoever, so they never start feeling like a job.

Drunken Parsing

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"Hi, $(lookup(BOOZE_SHOP_OF_LEAST_MISTRUST))$ Have you been drinking while parsing your variables?" Tom G. writes.

Flushed Down the Pipe

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No matter how much I personally like functional programming, I know that it is not a one-size fits all solution for every problem.

Vald M knows this too. Which is why they sent us an email that simply said: “We have a functional programmer on the team”, with this representative line attached.

Lightweight Date Handling

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Darlene has a co-worker who discovered a problem: they didn’t know or understand any of the C++ libraries for manipulating dates and times. Checking the documentation or googling it is way too much to ask, so instead they opted to use the tools they already understood- a database. We’ve seen that before.

There was just one other problem: this application wasn’t data-driven, and thus didn’t have a database to query.