Re: A little afternoon WTF

Tom Anderson <>
Thu, 13 May 2010 19:43:24 +0100
On Thu, 13 May 2010, Lew wrote:

Tom Anderson wrote:

Greets yalls,

Plural of a plural?


For your edutainment, some code (lightly anonymised) seen while digging
into code written by some (now-departed) contractors today:

private static String header = "" +
"<?xml version=\"1.0\" encoding=\"utf-8\"?>\r\n" +
"<initech:tps-report><initech:coversheet> etc";

WTF: the empty string literal on the first line. What did they think
that was for?

Secondary WTF: writing XML by hand rather than using StAX or something.
That i'm less outraged about, because it's ordinary ignorance, rather
than the special kind of brainwrong reflected in the primary WTF.

Not to mention the lack of 'final' on the variable (and concomitant
consequent violation of the naming conventions),

Eugh, i didn't even see that.

Oh god, i've just spotted another one: the hardcoded CRLF! This is a
linux-only project (up to and including developing on linux VMs - the
only time you'd ever look at this file would be on a linux machine), and
XML normalises all line breaks to LF anyway. Why would you do that?


None of this is strictly incorrect - it all works - but there's
something distinctly *wrong* about it. It doesn't fill you with
confidence that the important things are done correctly. Nor does
actually looking at the important things, as it happens, because one
immediately sees that they aren't.

You raise a very important point, perhaps several. Mainly, when a coder
is that careless and stupid in the (seemingly) unimportant details, odds
are that they're that careless and stupid everywhere. Conversely, those
who wish to be excellent coders should not be careless and stupid

That's very much how i see it too. It's a matter of professionalism - a
professional takes pride in getting the little details of their work
right, even when they're inconsequential.


everything is temporary

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