Code Like They're Watching
Posted on 2007-04-21 (Updated on 2019-01-22)
This week, one of my co-workers began working on a ticket that I had started. The situation involved an ASP.NET script, a stored procedure, and CSV and Database data sources. It was a fairly complicated issue that involved a 3rd party - they supplied the CSV file. It turns out that they had changed the formatting of the CSV file, which botched up our import script quite thoroughly.
I supplied my co-worker with the script, and started showing him what I had come up with so far, when we ran into some of my debugging code. Since I was working alone on this project, I had some fun with variable names (dim stupid, broken;). Luckily that section had been commented out, so he didn't seem to mind that too much.
However, we continued on in the code and ran into a piece of debuggery that was still in place: the 'coolguy()' function. I assume that I named it "coolguy" because I assumed I was, indeed, a cool guy. However, when my co-worker asked "Okay, so what's coolguy() do?" I had to re-assess my naming conventions.
Not only had I left out any semblance of comments, I hadn't given my functions or variables meaningful names. I was one of those coders. I was not a cool guy.
I sheepishly informed him what I thought the function did, but also had to admit that I wasn't sure. Coolguy wasn't ringing any bells, because I gave things silly names all the time. My intro to programming instructor popped briefly into my mind - she was shaking her head. If I had decided to be a samurai instead of a web designer, I would be ritualistically ending my sad existence right now.
Moral of the story: even if you're just goofing around, trying to fix something, make sure to take it seriously - code like you're working in a team, and you're submitting your program to five other people, all of which are higher up in the food chain than you are. Who knows when someone else might shed some light on the programs you've been writing... but you can make sure they don't get any of your abundant personality quirks with it. sigh