"I was casually browsing Bingo games and this one asked me to finish developing their site for them," writes Steven W.
Robert ran a web service used to store legal file data for a number of clients. One day, he received an email from his biggest client, Excédent, asking to meet about a new requirement.
"We've purchased new accounting software that requires us to track an additional piece of data," Philippe, Robert's contact from Excédent, explained over the conference call a few days later. "Each of our cases must now have a ‘cost center' associated with it. There are a lot of these cost centers, so when our employees enter case data, we'd like for them to be able to pick the one they need from a list."
PHP often gets a bad rap. A lot of the time, that’s because it’s used by developers that don’t know what they’re doing, just like there’s nothing inherently wrong with spandex, but there are times, places and people where it is inappropriate. And don’t get me wrong, the language has made big strides in recent years (good luck finding a web server hosting one of those versions, though). But there are just uses of PHP that reinforce that reputation. Robert Osswald provides this example from the contact-form editing code of a domain registrar database.
Let’s say you have some JSON data from an AJAX request, and it looks like this:
In the 1980’s, there was a TV show called The A-Team. There was the scrounger, who could scam anyone out of anything. He would make promises that were sort of true to get what he wanted (sound like marketing?) There was the tough guy who could intimidate anyone into doing anything. He knew how to get things done, but underneath it all, was a nice guy. There was the leader, who could always come up with a plan to save the day. And there was the one guy who was a little crazy (the good kind of crazy), but who you could count on in a pinch. There was also the occasional outside helper who would run interference and recon. This was a group of folks who worked as a well-oiled machine to get the job done. Failure was not an option! They were a team!
Alex had taken a job on a new greenfield development effort to replace an aging and unsupportable birds-nest-o-wtf™. Naturally, the position was advertised as “we intend to do things right!” The project is fully funded. We will have the proper equipment and team personnel to get this job done. We have the full support of six layers of management plus all of the users. Alex was optimistic.
Perl is jokingly referred to as a “write-only language”. This is because Perl’s primary solution to any problem is to throw a regular expression at it. Regexes are powerful, but cryptic.
Imagine RJ’s joy at starting a new contract for an OCR/document-management system that makes heavy use of regexes. Even better, the system doesn’t use widely implemented “Perl-compatible regular expressions” syntax, but instead, uses its own, slightly tweaked version.
A few years ago, Joel Spolsky wrote his simple, 12-point test to measure how “good” a software team is. Stan was thinking about this test quite a bit, when he started a new job at a company which set a new record for failure.
You’ve read the posts. You’ve submitted your own WTFs. Now it’s time to take it to the next level: The Daily WTF: Live is coming to Pittsburgh, PA.