12 Replies - 2170 Views - Last Post: 31 March 2011 - 03:48 PM

#1 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Abused scope and functionality shift...

Post icon  Posted 29 March 2011 - 09:04 AM

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In another thread it was brought up that when doing 'in house' projects for your job sometimes people take a small throw away app and hold on to it. For years. And years. The use it in ways it was never intended. Build policies and guidelines for it. Eventually the people holding the holy 3.5" floppy disc that will surface and make a mention outside of their circle. The word travels back to you; you who wrote it six years ago, handed it to Thomas from Accounting, and promptly forgot about that one time app.

Along with that is the ever present shifting scope. You write an app and just get it done to have a "few more minor changes" tacked on. This snow balls with more changes and the pretty little app you created is a no longer recognizable carny.

Let's huddle up around the camp fire and throw down some tales of abused code - misappropriated, over used, and over depended on. Let the young'ins understand why it is great to have signatures, lines drawn in the sand, and repositories of code for the crazy cults based around programs you wrote that should have died after a one time use.

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Replies To: Abused scope and functionality shift...

#2 Curtis Rutland  Icon User is online

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Re: Abused scope and functionality shift...

Posted 29 March 2011 - 09:19 AM

As I mentioned in the other thread, a proof of concept data-collection application I and a coworker wrote is now currently being used for more than one mission-critical application. Originally, it was just to monitor one of our applications. Sort of a stethoscope on the flow of messages between the app and our mainframe. Well, it expanded to all of our mainframe-driven applications. And then the data coming out of it started getting mined for other purposes, like sales and fraud data. And people are using my visualizations.

Oh my!

Anyway, it was never optimized, and barely properly finished. I need to completely redo the setup, but for one, I'm scared to touch it and break all the other systems, and for two, they won't budget me any time for it.
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#3 lordofduct  Icon User is online

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Re: Abused scope and functionality shift...

Posted 29 March 2011 - 09:33 AM

I don't have many... but this week I had to giggle because some stupid little app I wrote a while back to both try out WPF and to monitor the server was being used in what would be the released product. My boss then asked me why I put all these 'weird' debug functionalities in it that customers shouldn't be able to have access to, and I said because customers shouldn't have access to the program, period.
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#4 Creecher  Icon User is offline

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Re: Abused scope and functionality shift...

Posted 29 March 2011 - 09:37 AM

I once created a tic tac toe game in VC++ whilst trying out the language on my dads old computer a long time ago. Little did I know, that my dad found the program, and was teaching my 3 year old brother how to use the mouse on the computer with it.

Made me proud :)
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#5 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Abused scope and functionality shift...

Posted 30 March 2011 - 07:58 AM

Funny story - a few months back I ran into an old coworker from two companies ago in a bar. Chit chat ensued and it turns out he has bailed from the old testing department. We did a jumping, freeze frame, high-five and then he nervously asked me if I remember the old automated testing scripts we used. I laughed and affirmed I did (since I recorded them, hacked apart the testing software's craptastic vb back-end, and made them work fast, dynamic, and filled out the appropriate Excel documentation needed). He told me he is perpetually hounded by people that are *still* using the scripts - people begging, pleading, and threatening him to upgrade the scripts. The dependency has gotten to the point where the current owners haven't tossed out the department PC I had the scripts running on in fear the scripts would be permanently lost. They tried to get an intern to look at them, but the intern quit. I told him for the right amount of greenbacks to lubricate the memory I would be willing to consult on the scripts. My associate was afraid if he admits he knows the guy who wrote them (I guess my name was lost in the anuels of history) I would get no rest, and they were in a budget crunch so no skrill.

Makes me lullz all the time!
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#6 BenignDesign  Icon User is online

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Re: Abused scope and functionality shift...

Posted 30 March 2011 - 12:46 PM

I wrote a custom CMS at my last company... All hardcore, beautiful, meticulously crafted PHP... and used it to power the nearly 100 custom designed, custom built sites I created during my tenure there. The little chickie they brought in to take my place - while she is reportedly easy on the eyes... and even easier on the owner's *ahem* 'special' areas - she doesn't code. The result being that when clients needed additional functionality built into their systems or new regions added to their sites, easy chickie couldn't handle the work... hence, all but 3 of my little masterpieces have been completely rebuilt using a canned CMS and purchased templates and have a set of rigid restrictions as to what can and cannot be accomplished 'within the scope of the internet'.... and they wonder why they've only had 4 new contracts in the two years since the 'real' developers left.....

Not quite the story you were looking for, but it's the closest I've got. :)
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#7 Curtis Rutland  Icon User is online

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Re: Abused scope and functionality shift...

Posted 30 March 2011 - 12:53 PM

Quote

beautiful...PHP


Oxymoron?
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#8 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Abused scope and functionality shift...

Posted 30 March 2011 - 12:59 PM

I like the part in the story where the new chickie gravitates to "rigid restrictions".
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#9 Dormilich  Icon User is online

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Re: Abused scope and functionality shift...

Posted 31 March 2011 - 01:11 AM

View PostCurtis Rutland, on 30 March 2011 - 09:53 PM, said:

Quote

beautiful...PHP


Oxymoron?


Pleonasm!
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#10 BenignDesign  Icon User is online

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Re: Abused scope and functionality shift...

Posted 31 March 2011 - 06:04 AM

I love my PHP. It is a thing of beauty. It is my art. SO LEAVE IT ALONE.

And as far as "rigid restrictions".... perhaps it wasn't the best wording, but the new chickie - and the bossboys at the old company - started telling new clients: "Oh, we can't do X on your website, sir. It's just not possible on the internet. Yes, I realize Company B has that on their website, but they must be using different software. Our software doesn't have that ability."

Then again, new chickie works for half of my current salary and no benefits... so I guess you get what you pay for, right?
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#11 NeoTifa  Icon User is offline

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Re: Abused scope and functionality shift...

Posted 31 March 2011 - 02:42 PM

Well, I've never really written any code significant enough to be used by anybody, even myself after assignments are turned in (I do make a pretty mean Hello, world! program though), but I've got a non-tech story to share of something like this.

When I was a freshman in high school AFJROTC, I joined the model building club so I could get another shiny badge on my uniform. I only ever made one plane, and I worked on it with my friend. After we all were finished, all the other guys put the stickers on it and made it look realistic-ish. My friend and I, however, decided we were going to paint ours hot pink. XD They all got their planes hung from the ceiling as decorations in the classroom, but ours remained on the SASI's desk. Every time he gives a lecture on aerodynamics, ground school stuff, navigation, or some type of non-history airplaney lesson, he uses our hot pink airplane as a prop. All the kids think it's hilarious. Last I heard, he still uses our hot pink airplane, 7 years later.
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#12 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Abused scope and functionality shift...

Posted 31 March 2011 - 02:56 PM

I'll summarize my story, but for the whole thing, check out my blog entry on it.

Long story short, I was the Project Manager and Lead Developer for a nonprofit website project as a school project. It was three months of sheer misery. Feeping creatures is an understatement. The clients were basically telling us how many pixels in one direction they wanted an image shifted. And when I told them we wouldn't be able to meet a deadline due to their excessive demands, they cried to the teacher. I can still hear this woman now in her mid-30's, Arkansas accent whining "Lynne" to my teacher. Anyways, I'm not a designer and didn't realize until the last two weeks of the project when I was doing design tweaks with the help of my boss at the help desk that the HTML was poorly written. But the PHP I wrote does fine (looking back on it, I would have liked to have time to refactor and improve it some. But as PM, I wasted a ton of time dealing with crazy lady)! And now, this client is taking a web design class at her college, and is going to refactor the HTML/CSS side as her project. At least the site is live though.
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#13 cfoley  Icon User is offline

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Re: Abused scope and functionality shift...

Posted 31 March 2011 - 03:48 PM

I was writing a parser for protein atomic coordinate files. I wanted to extract specific atoms. An early prototype simply took the first atom from each monomer but a minority of files had things in a funny order. To make it work for them, I corrected it to search for atom labels instead.

However, when my boss and I were looking to try our technique on nucleic acids, he came to me all puzzled that the very first version of my software gave results for nucleic acids but the most up to date version gave nothing. Of course, every polymer no matter the type has a "first atom" in every monomer, but nucleic acids label atoms differently from proteins.

Turns out that bug was a feature!
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