Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The curse and blessing of developing software

There is a site called "The Daily WTF: Curious Perversions in Information Technology". Contrary to the name, the site is perfectly safe for work. In fact, it's probably should be mandatory reading for some workplaces. Why? Because the content of the site can be put in 2 categories: amusing screenshots of software behaving badly and examples of phenomenally bad code. By the former, I mean amusing error messages; error messages that the developers thinks will never show to the user; banks sending letters to demand payment of $0; things of that nature.
The second category is what I call the curse of being in the software business. Smart people coming up with really clever and awful ways to get things done. Part of the reason is that end users never get to see the source code of most applications. They only see the pretty UI. So what happens? Developers have the freedom to use whatever to get the job done. And boy, do they abuse that freedom.Spend a few minutes perusing the Code of the Day section of the site and you'll get a feeling for what I am talking about.