It's important to be prepared- but not too prepared. A common trap developers fall into is "premature abstraction"- trying to solve the general case of a problem when you only need to solve a very specific case.

Frequent contributor Argle sends us some very old BASIC code. The task was to convert this ancient language into C#.

Someone decided that, instead of waiting to learn specifically what variables they'd eventually need, they'd just declare all the variables they could ever want right at the top.

Which gives us this block, included in its entirety.

COMMON PRICE1, PIECE1, PRICE2, PIECE2, PRICE3, PIECE3, PRICE4, PIECE4 COMMON PRICE5, PIECE5, PRICE6, PIECE6, PRICE7, PIECE7, PRICE8, PIECE8 COMMON PRICE9, PIECE9, PRICE10, PRICE11, PIECE11, PRICE12, PIECE12 COMMON PRICE13, PIECE13, PRICE14, PIECE14, PRICE15, PIECE15, PRICE16, PIECE16 COMMON PRICE17, PIECE17, PRICE18, PIECE18, PRICE19, PIECE19, PRICE20 COMMON PRICE21, PIECE21, PRICE22, PIECE22, PRICE23, PIECE23, PRICE24, PIECE24 COMMON PRICE25, PIECE25, PRICE26, PIECE26, PRICE27, PIECE27, PRICE28, PIECE28 COMMON PRICE29, PIECE29, PRICE30, PRICE31, PIECE31, PRICE32, PIECE32 COMMON PRICE33, PIECE33, PRICE34, PIECE34, PRICE35, PIECE35, PRICE36, PIECE36 COMMON PRICE37, PIECE37, PRICE38, PIECE38, PRICE39, PIECE39, PRICE40 COMMON PRICE41, PIECE41, PRICE42, PIECE42, PRICE43, PIECE43, PRICE44, PIECE44 COMMON PRICE45, PIECE45, PRICE46, PIECE46, PRICE47, PIECE47, PRICE48, PIECE48 COMMON PRICE49, PIECE49, PRICE50, PRICE51, PIECE51, PRICE52, PIECE52 COMMON PRICE53, PIECE53, PRICE54, PIECE54, PRICE55, PIECE55, PRICE56, PIECE56 COMMON PRICE57, PIECE57, PRICE58, PIECE58, PRICE59, PIECE59, PRICE60 COMMON PRICE61, PIECE61, PRICE62, PIECE62, PRICE63, PIECE63, PRICE64, PIECE64 COMMON PRICE65, PIECE65, PRICE66, PIECE66, PRICE67, PIECE67, PRICE68, PIECE68 COMMON PRICE69, PIECE69, PRICE70, PRICE71, PIECE71, PRICE72, PIECE72 COMMON PRICE73, PIECE73, PRICE74, PIECE74, PRICE75, PIECE75, PRICE76, PIECE76 COMMON PRICE77, PIECE77, PRICE78, PIECE78, PRICE79, PIECE79, PRICE80 COMMON PRICE81, PIECE81, PRICE82, PIECE82, PRICE83, PIECE83, PRICE84, PIECE84 COMMON PRICE85, PIECE85, PRICE86, PIECE86, PRICE87, PIECE87, PRICE88, PIECE88 COMMON PRICE89, PIECE89, PRICE90, PRICE91, PIECE91, PRICE92, PIECE92 COMMON PRICE93, PIECE93, PRICE94, PIECE94, PRICE95, PIECE95, PRICE96, PIECE96 COMMON PRICE97, PIECE97, PRICE98, PIECE98, PRICE99, PIECE99, PRICE100 COMMON PRINSUL, PRPARTS COMMON PART1$, PRIWIRE$, SECWIRE$ COMMON MAT1$, MAT2$, MAT3$, MAT4$, MAT5$, MAT6$, MAT7$, MAT8$, MAT9$ COMMON MAT11$, MAT12$, MAT13$, MAT14$, MAT15$, MAT16$, MAT17$, MAT18$, MAT19$ COMMON MAT21$, MAT22$, MAT23$, MAT24$, MAT25$, MAT26$, MAT27$, MAT28$, MAT29$ COMMON MAT31$, MAT32$, MAT33$, MAT34$, MAT35$, MAT36$, MAT37$, MAT38$, MAT39$ COMMON MAT41$, MAT42$, MAT43$, MAT44$, MAT45$, MAT46$, MAT47$, MAT48$, MAT49$ COMMON MAT51$, MAT52$, MAT53$, MAT54$, MAT55$, MAT56$, MAT57$, MAT58$, MAT59$ COMMON MAT61$, MAT62$, MAT63$, MAT64$, MAT65$, MAT66$, MAT67$, MAT68$, MAT69$ COMMON MAT71$, MAT72$, MAT73$, MAT74$, MAT75$, MAT76$, MAT77$, MAT78$, MAT79$ COMMON MAT81$, MAT82$, MAT83$, MAT84$, MAT85$, MAT86$, MAT87$, MAT88$, MAT89$ COMMON MAT91$, MAT92$, MAT93$, MAT94$, MAT95$, MAT96$, MAT97$, MAT98$, MAT99$ COMMON WINDINGLENGTH, SHORTERWINDINGLENGTH, FILLER, FILLERSHORTERWINDINGLENGTH COMMON WINDINGLENGTH$, SHORTERWINDINGLENGTH$, PARTS$ COMMON ADD1, ADD2, ADD3, ADD4, ADD5, ADD6, ADD7, ADD8, ADD9, ADD10 COMMON ADD11, ADD12, ADD13, ADD14, ADD15, ADD16, ADD17, ADD18, ADD19, ADD20 COMMON ADD21, ADD22, ADD23, ADD24, ADD25, ADD26, ADD27, ADD28, ADD29, ADD30 COMMON ADD31, ADD32, ADD33, ADD34, ADD35, ADD36, ADD37, ADD38, ADD39, ADD40 COMMON ADD41, ADD42, ADD43, ADD44, ADD45, ADD46, ADD47, ADD48, ADD49, ADD50 COMMON ADD51, ADD52, ADD53, ADD54, ADD55, ADD56, ADD57, ADD58, ADD59, ADD60 COMMON ADD61, ADD62, ADD63, ADD64, ADD65, ADD66, ADD67, ADD68, ADD69, ADD70 COMMON ADD71, ADD72, ADD73, ADD74, ADD75, ADD76, ADD77, ADD78, ADD79, ADD80 COMMON ADD81, ADD82, ADD83, ADD84, ADD85, ADD86, ADD87, ADD88, ADD89, ADD90 COMMON ADD91, ADD92, ADD93, ADD94, ADD95, ADD96, ADD97, ADD98, ADD99, ADD100 COMMON ADD101, ADD102, ADD103, ADD104, ADD105, ADD106, ADD107, ADD108, ADD109, ADD110 COMMON ADD111, ADD112, ADD113, ADD114, ADD115, ADD116, ADD117, ADD118, ADD119, ADD120 COMMON ADD121, ADD122, ADD123, ADD124, ADD125, ADD126, ADD127, ADD128, ADD129, ADD130 COMMON ADD131, ADD132, ADD133, ADD134, ADD135, ADD136, ADD137, ADD138, ADD139, add140 COMMON ADD141, ADD142, ADD143, ADD144, ADD145, ADD146, ADD147, ADD148, ADD149, ADD150 COMMON ADD151, ADD152, ADD153, ADD154, ADD155, ADD156, ADD157, ADD158, ADD159, ADD160 COMMON ADD161, ADD162, ADD163, ADD164, ADD165, ADD166, ADD167, ADD168, ADD169, ADD170 COMMON ADD171, ADD172, ADD173, ADD174, ADD175, ADD176, ADD177, ADD178, ADD179, ADD180 COMMON ADD181, ADD182, ADD183, ADD184, ADD185, ADD186, ADD187, ADD188, ADD189, ADD190 COMMON ADD191, ADD192, ADD193, ADD194, ADD195, ADD196, ADD197, ADD198, ADD199, ADD200 COMMON ADD201, ADD202, ADD203, ADD204, ADD205, ADD206, ADD207, ADD208, ADD209, ADD210 COMMON ADD211, ADD212, ADD213, ADD214, ADD215, ADD216, ADD217, ADD218, ADD219, ADD220 COMMON ADD221, ADD222, ADD223, ADD224, ADD225, ADD226, ADD227, ADD228, ADD229, ADD230 COMMON ADD231, ADD232, ADD233, ADD234, ADD235, ADD236, ADD237, ADD238, ADD239, ADD240 COMMON ADD241, ADD242, ADD243, ADD244, ADD245, ADD246, ADD247, ADD248, ADD249, ADD250 COMMON ADD251, ADD252, ADD253, ADD254, ADD255, ADD256, ADD257, ADD258, ADD259, ADD260 COMMON ADD261, ADD262, ADD263, ADD264, ADD265, ADD266, ADD267, ADD268, ADD269, ADD270 COMMON ADD271, ADD272, ADD273, ADD274, ADD275, ADD276, ADD277, ADD278, ADD279, ADD280 COMMON ADD281, ADD282, ADD283, ADD284, ADD285, ADD286, ADD287, ADD288, ADD289, ADD290 COMMON ADD291, ADD292, ADD293, ADD294, ADD295, ADD296, ADD297, ADD298, ADD299, ADD300 COMMON ADD1$, ADD2$, ADD3$, ADD4$, ADD5$, ADD6$, ADD7$, ADD8$, ADD9$, ADD10$ COMMON ADD11$, ADD12$, ADD13$, ADD14$, ADD15$, ADD16$, ADD17$, ADD18$, ADD19$, ADD20$ COMMON ADD21$, ADD22$, ADD23$, ADD24$, ADD25$, ADD26$, ADD27$, ADD28$, ADD29$, ADD30$ COMMON ADD31$, ADD32$, ADD33$, ADD34$, ADD35$, ADD36$, ADD37$, ADD38$, ADD39$, ADD40$ COMMON ADD41$, ADD42$, ADD43$, ADD44$, ADD45$, ADD46$, ADD47$, ADD48$, ADD49$, ADD50$ COMMON ADD51$, ADD52$, ADD53$, ADD54$, ADD55$, ADD56$, ADD57$, ADD58$, ADD59$, ADD60$ COMMON ADD61$, ADD62$, ADD63$, ADD64$, ADD65$, ADD66$, ADD67$, ADD68$, ADD69$, ADD70$ COMMON ADD71$, ADD72$, ADD73$, ADD74$, ADD75$, ADD76$, ADD77$, ADD78$, ADD79$, ADD80$ COMMON ADD81$, ADD82$, ADD83$, ADD84$, ADD85$, ADD86$, ADD87$, ADD88$, ADD89$, ADD90$ COMMON ADD91$, ADD92$, ADD93$, ADD94$, ADD95$, ADD96$, ADD97$, ADD98$, ADD99$, ADD100$ COMMON ADD101$, ADD102$, ADD103$, ADD104$, ADD105$, ADD106$, ADD107$, ADD108$, ADD109$, ADD110$ COMMON ADD111$, ADD112$, ADD113$, ADD114$, ADD115$, ADD116$, ADD117$, ADD118$, ADD119$, ADD120$ COMMON ADD121$, ADD122$, ADD123$, ADD124$, ADD125$, AD1D26$, ADD127$, ADD128$, ADD129$, ADD130$ COMMON ADD131$, ADD132$, ADD133$, ADD134$, ADD135$, ADD136$, ADD137$, ADD138$, ADD139$, add140$ COMMON ADD141$, ADD142$, ADD143$, ADD144$, ADD145$, ADD146$, ADD147$, ADD148$, ADD149$, ADD150$

99% of these variables are never used. The hypothesis was that, once they were used, they'd get renamed into something more meaningful. If you skim through, you'll see that there are some named variables in that code, like PRIWIRE$ and SECWIRE$. Those variables are not used anywhere in the code. But don't worry, PRICE31 is. Somewhere.

At least they'll never have to declare a new variable again.

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