Recent Feature Articles

Dec 2020

What the Fun Holiday Activity: A Visit From "Coding Cats"?

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Thanks again to everyone who submitted a holiday tale for our What the Fun Holiday special. Like all good holiday traditions, our winner indulges in a bit of nostalgia for a Christmas classic, by adapting the classic "A Visit From St. Nicolas", a trick we've done ourselves. But like a good WTF, Lee R also mixes in some frustration and anger, and maybe a few inside jokes that we're all on the outside of. Still, for holiday spirit, this tale can't be beat.

Now, our normal editorial standards avoid profanity, but in the interests of presenting the story as Lee submitted it, we're going to suspend that rule for today. It is, after all, the holidays, and we're all miserable.

What the Fun Holiday Activity: The Gift of the Consultant and The Holiday Push

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As we roll into the last few days before Christmas, it's time to share what our readers sent in for our "What the Fun Holiday" contest. It was a blast going through the submissions to see what our holiday experiences looked like.

Before we dig in to our contest winners, our first honorable mention is to David N, who shared with us "The Worm Before Christmas", a classic from 1988 that was new to us.

The Secret is… … … … Timing

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Scott was new to the team, and so when a seemingly simple bug came in, he picked up the ticket. It should be an easy win, and help him get more familiar with the code base.

The reported problem was that a user entered the time, and saved it. Several screens later, when that time was redisplayed, it was incorrect, off by some number of hours. Clearly, it was a small timezone issue, which should be easy to fix.

Mandatory Confusion

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Mighty gnarled tree (Unsplash)

CorpCo was a small company; it consisted of Tymeria, the president, and two programmers, Kylie and Ronnie. Kylie had seniority, having been working there for 6 or 7 years, but Ronnie, our submitter, had been working there a hefty 4 years herself. The company purchased a legacy VB web app from a client company, AClientCompany; AClientCompany had been working on the app for 15 years, with their lead programmer Michelle as the sole programmer. The app had been written in classic ASP using VBScript, though at some point Michelle had begun converting the project to ASP.NET with VB.NET. (Did you know you can mix and match classic ASP with ASP.NET and classic VBScript with VB.NET in the same solution? I didn't!). Of course, the app was riddled with security vulnerabilities, copypasta, and spaghetti code. One main class, called DBFunctions.vb, was over 30,000 lines!

A New Bean

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Roasted coffee beans

It was Paramdeep's first corporate IT job. He was assigned a mentor, Rajiv, who would train him up on the application he would be supporting: a WebSphere-based Java application full of Enterprise Java Beans.