Meetup in Kansas City: Dinner and a Pint after KCDC

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The Kansas City Developer Conference is this week, followed by PubConf. Between these two events on Friday evening is plenty of time for a TDWTF dinner, and that's exactly what we're planning!

If you find yourself in Kansas City Missouri this Friday, for KCDC, PubConf, or perhaps because you live here, please come out to the Dubliner at 5:30 PM for dinner and a pint. I'll be there along with Martine Dowden and some TDWTF swag to give away. We'll talk software, discuss what we took away from the conference, and can head over to PubConf together.

Nothing Direct About directAddCartEntry

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It’s old hat, but every function, every class, every code unit you write, should all have a single, well-defined purpose. “Do one thing, and do it well,” as it were.

Of course, sometimes, it’s easier said that done, and mindlessly following that advice can lead to premature abstraction, and then you’ll have quite a mess on your hands. Still, it’s good advice, and a great design goal, even if you don’t head straight there.

Brütäl Glöbs

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Noam and a few friends decided it was time for them to launch their own product. They were young, optimistic about their career, and had some opinions about the best way to handle some basic network monitoring and scanning tasks. So they iterated on the idea a few times, until one day the program just started hanging. At first, Noam thought it was just a hang, but after walking away from the machine for a few minutes in frustration, he discovered that it was just running really slow.

After a little investigation, he tracked down the problem to the function responsible for checking if an IP matched a filter. That filter could contain globs, which made things a bit tricky, but his partner had some ideas about how best to handle them.

The Enterprise Backup Batch

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If a piece of software is described in any way, shape or form as being "enterprise", it's a safe bet that you don't actually want to use it. As a general rule, "enterprise" software packages mix the Inner-Platform Effect with trying to be all things to all customers, with thousands upon thousands of lines of legacy code that can't be touched because at least one customer depends on those quirks. There doesn't tend to be much competition in the "enterprise" space, so none of the vendors actually put any thought into making their products good. That's what salesbeasts and lawyers are for.

Kristoph M supports a deployment of Initech's data warehouse system. Since this system is a mix of stored procedures and SSIS packages, Kristoph can actually read a good portion of the code which makes the product work. They just choose not to. And that's usually a good choice.

Errors Don't Always Ad up

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"You know, I'm thinking that The guys working on AT&T's DIRECTV service must have not done well with fractions in school," Andrew T. writes.

Null Error Handling

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Oliver works for a very large company. Just recently, someone decided that it was time to try out those “newfangled REST services.”

Since this was “new”, at least within the confines of the organization, that meant there were a lot more eyes on the project and a more thorough than average code review process. That’s how Oliver found this.

Structured Searching

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It’s hard to do any non-trivial programming in C without having to use a struct. Structs are great! A single variable holds access to multiple pieces of data, and all the nasty details of how they’re laid out in memory are handled by the compiler.

In more modern OO languages, we take that kind of thing for granted. We’re so abstracted from the details of how memory is laid out it’s easy to forget how tricky and difficult actually managing that kind of memory layout is.

Process by Management

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Alice's team was thirty developers, taking up most of the floor of a nondescript office building in yet another office park. Their team was a contractor-to-a-contractor for a branch of the US military, which meant a variety of things. First, bringing a thumb drive into the office was a firing offense. Second, they were used to a certain level of bureaucracy. You couldn't change a line of code unless you had four different documents confirming the change was necessary and was authorized, and actually deploying a change was a milestone event with code freezes and expected extra hours.

Despite all this, the thirty person team had built a great working relationship. They had made their process as efficient as they could, and their PM, Doug, understood the work well enough to keep things streamlined. In fact, Doug did such a good job that Doug got promoted. Enter Millie, his replacement.