sraun: portrait (Default)
sraun ([personal profile] sraun) wrote in [staff profile] denise 2011-03-30 02:46 am (UTC)

My father has the worst 'code come back to haunt me' story I've heard yet.

He worked for the electric power company in Akron, OH in the late 1950s, where he wrote some Fortran to help analyze power distribution networks. After about five years, he left that job and moved to Duluth, MN, where he went to work for a different electric power company.

Fast-forward to sometime in the mid-80s. Dad is working on distribution planning (how much power are we going to need to provide where in 5, 10, or 20 years, and what do we have to do to our network to meet those needs), and needs to some specialized network analysis. He goes rummaging into the software library, and finds a program that should do just what he wants, with a little tweaking.

The specific section he needed to modify was about 30 years old. According to the changelog, it was untouched since it had been written. He looked at it, went 'I remember writing this code, and I haven't the faintest idea how it works'. He tore the whole section out and re-wrote it from scratch.

Yeah, I intuitively understood the concept of technical debt pretty much the moment you used it.

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