test.ical.ly | getting the web by the balls

Jan/11

19

For crying out loud! Struggling with bad code?

Most of you know the situation. You start on a new project inheriting shitloads of legacy code. Not only are you struggling getting an overview but also you are faced with enormous side effects when changing the tiniest thing.

This surely is the worst ever project!

Have you ever felt the urge to make this public just so other like minded developers can sympathise?

What got me started with this post is a video by Robert C. Martin (Uncle Bob) about bad code.

Bad Code from unclebob on Vimeo.

His example is truly aweful! But he took care to disguise it so it can not be tracked down to whatever company owns this code which would be fatal for him as the company might would probably sue him then.

Also just recently I had to say farewell to an ex-colleague of mine who has left the comapny because he felt completely entangled in legacy code with no chance to advance his skills. He told me he often thought about showing the worst examples to the outside world as a means to cry out.

I do have to say I often felt the same and during my last few years each job introduced me to at least one project that instantly made it to the top of my list of worst projects ever convincing me that it couldn’t get any worse than this.

A website that I found very early on and that now entertains me for ovwer half a decade now is The daily WTF.

So far I didn’t publish anything there. Instead I blogged right here on test.ical.ly with great caution not to tell names or be too obvious.

How do you handle this?

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  • http://adeslade.co.uk Ade

    I haven’t seen that video before, pretty funny. I try not to laugh too hard because I’ve seen similar from different projects.

    Everyone will have had experiences with legacy code. I’ve really tried to have a different attitude towards “bad code” since I read a quote / article stating that legacy code for it’s perceived flaws is still very valuable. It’s an accumulation of knowledge and solutions to problems encountered during the development of the project. As a developer coming on to a project, you may never know the full story and so the legacy code is all you have.

    I do still moan but try and be a little fairer too!

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