Recent CodeSOD

Code Snippet Of the Day (CodeSOD) features interesting and usually incorrect code snippets taken from actual production code in a commercial and/or open source software projects.

Jul 2018

An Incomparable Event

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Sandra’s ongoing battles continue. She currently works for Initrovent, and is doing her best to clean Karl’s dirty fingerprints off their event-planning codebase.

Now, as it turns out, Karl wasn’t their only developer. Another previous developer was a physicist who knew their way around APL and Fortran, then decided to follow the early 2000s money and became a self-taught web developer.

A Symbol of Bad Code

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As developers, when we send data over the network, we can usually safely ignore the physical implementation of that network. At some level, though, the bits you’re sending become physical effects in your transmission medium, whether it’s radio waves or electrical signals.

You can’t just send raw bits over the wire. Those bits have to be converted into a symbol suitable for the transmission medium. Symbols could be the dots-and-dashes of morse code, tones transmitted over a phone line, or changing duty cycles on a pulse-width-modulated signal. The number of symbols per second is the baud rate of the channel. What this means for digital transmission is that even if your channel has a potential bit rate of one gigabit per second, the actual baud rate may be different- either much larger or much smaller. For example, modems might send 4-bits per symbol, meaning a 2,400 baud modem actually can transmit 9,600 bits per second. GPS, on the other hand, can transmit 50 bits/s, but over one million symbols per second thanks to spread spectrum broadcast.

Is the Table Empty?

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Sean has a lucrative career as a consultant/contractor. As such, he spends a great deal of time in other people’s code bases, and finds things like a method with this signature:

public boolean isTableEmpty()

To Read or Parse

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When JSON started to displace XML as the default data format for the web, my initial reaction was, "Oh, thank goodness." Time passed, and people reinvented schemas for JSON and RPC APIs in JSON and wrote tools which turn JSON schemas into UIs and built databases which store BSON, which is JSON with extra steps, and… it makes you wonder what it was all for.

An Eventful Career Continues

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You may remember Sandra from her rather inglorious start at Initrovent. She didn't intend to continue working for Karl for very long, but she also didn't run out the door screaming. Perhaps she should have, but if she had- we wouldn't have this code.

Initrovent was an event-planning company, and thus needed to manage events, shows, and spaces. They wrote their own exotic suite of software to manage that task.