A Taste of Nil

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"This nil looks pretty tasty, but I think I’m allergic to it since I always feel sick when I see it in my debugger," Kevin T. writes.

The Powerful Parent

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As we’ve explored recently, developers will often latch onto something they pick up in one language and carry it forward with them into others. Kerry still is working with the co-worker who has… odd ideas about how things should work. At is turns out, this developer is also a Highly Paid Consultant, which we just discussed yesterday.

The latest problem Kerry found was in a display grid. It lists off a bunch of information linked to the user’s account, and each entry on the grid has a little plus sign on it to display further details. What, exactly, appears on that grid is tied to your account. It’s also worth noting that this service has a concept of corporate accounts- a “parent” account can administer entries for all their child accounts.

Hop Scotch

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IniTech’s fashion division, IniGarment, launched their new accounting solution by hiring “best in class” highly-paid-consultants (HPCs). The system launched, collapsed under the weight of the first week of use, hardware was thrown at the problem in an absolute crisis panic, and the end result was that they had a perfectly serviceable accounting package that was overbudget and supported by expensive HPCs.

It wasn’t sustainable. So out the HPCs went, and in came a pile of salaried employees. Jeff was one of those. His first six weeks at IniGarment were spent trying to understand the nest of stored procedures, quick hacks, and ugly choices. One of the first puzzles Jeff decided to look into was an invoice uploading step.

Install Your Package

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I use Python a lot at work, and if you're doing anything vaguely data oriented, you want to use NumPy. I gave a talk about how much I love NumPy. It's one of the things that I automatically include in every requriements.txt because it's so goddamn useful.

Lanny supports a product which uses NumPy, which is why he was surprised to find this block:

Without Directions

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Adam S sends us a representative line which represents a mystery. It's a simple enough Java statement:

private static final Integer[] DIRECTIONS = { 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 };

Con(text)ual Errors

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"A football coach needs at least a two line footer to succeed," writes Ergin S.

On the Hard Problems

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As the saying goes, there are two hard problems in computer science: naming things, cache expiration, and off-by-one errors. This little snipped of anonymously supplied PHP code highlights the first one of those challenges:

    // if no error commit
    if ($is_fail) {

Going Down to the Object Store

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Odette’s company uses a popular video conferencing solution for browser use. In the base library, there’s a handy-dandy class called ObjectStorage, which implements an in-memory key/value store entirely in TypeScript/JavaScript.

“Wait,” you ask, “isn’t a JavaScript in-memory, key/value store just… an object? A map, if you’re being pedantic?”