97 Things Every Programmer Should Know

(Chris Devlin) #1

Collective Wisdom from the Experts 51

To appropriate the old saying that “a lie can travel halfway around the world
while the truth is putting on its shoes,” in this day and age, a screw-up can be
Dugg, Twittered, and Flibflarbed before anyone in the developer’s time zone is
awake to do anything about it.

Even your source code isn’t necessarily free of scrutiny. In 2004, when a tarball
of the Windows 2000 source code made its way onto file-sharing networks,
some folks merrily grepped through it for profanity, insults, and other funny
content.* (The comment // TERRIBLE HORRIBLE NO GOOD VERY BAD HACK has, I
will admit, become appropriated by me from time to time since!)

In summary, when writing any text in your code—whether comments, log-
ging, dialogs, or test data—always ask yourself how it will look if it becomes
public. It will save some red faces all around.

*ttp://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2004/2/15/71552/7795 h

Free download pdf