An Ant Pushes a Perl

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It’s an old joke that Perl is a “write only language”. Despite some of its issues, back in the early 2000s, Perl was one of the best options out there for scripting languages and rapid-development automation.

Speaking of automation, build automation is really important. Back in the early 2000s, before Maven really caught on, your build automation tool for Java was Ant. Ant, like everything invented in the early 2000s, was driven by an XML scripting tool. Since it was tuned specifically for Java, it had some high-level operations to streamline tasks like generating proxy classes for calling web services based on a supplied WSDL file.

Mercy the Mercenary in… a Heated Argument

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Last time, Mercy found out the political campaign she was working for didn't have a candidate that was in his best health- but they were pushing him into the governor's mansion anyway. In today's finale, she confronts a hacker and a harsh reality…

Mercy cringed as Ellis waved her over to his laptop. She left her usual workspace next to the hamilton server and headed to where Ellis had holed up. On his laptop she saw a YouTube video, playing one of Rockwood’s stump speeches. “We can’t have the YouTube logo on here anymore,” he said, indicating the “Righteous Rants” design. The red and white logo clashed loudly with the Thomas Kinkade-inspired backgrounds Ellis had picked at random from a stock photo site. “Can you make it go away? We can’t be seen to endorse a company like that.”

What Happens in Massachusetts...

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"I came across this while submitting to a background check for a new job," writes Jay S., "Good to know that felonious behavior in Boston is perfectly acceptable."

Interned Sort

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Caleb scored his first intership at a small, family-owned print-shop. Much to his surprise, the day before he started, their primary web-developer left for a bigger, more lucrative job. His predecssor was an experienced programmer, but came at solving problems in his own unique way. This meant no comments, no functions, no classes, SQL injection vulnerabilities everywere, and cryptic 500-character one-liners stuffed into the value attribute of an input tag.

Caleb spent his first day just trying to get the code running on his dev machine. On the second day, he sat down with a more experienced co-worker to try and understand some of the queries. For example, there was one query that needed to return product details sorted in some meaningful fashion- like by name. Weirdly, though, the page wasn’t sorting them by name, except when it was- no one who used the product search understood the sort order.

Twisted Branches

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David pulled his headphones off when he heard a loud harrumph behind him. One of his project managers loomed in the doorway, and had obviously been standing there for some time, trying to get David’s attention.

“You pulled from Staging-Core branch into the Version–2 branch and broke Liam’s changes,” the PM said.

See You Last Saturday

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One of the more difficult things for beginning programmers to pick up is computer-minded thinking. Sure, if you're reading this, it's probably easy for you to look at a system and plot out how to get the outputs you want in one area out of the information you have in another. For someone who's been programming for years, it's practically second nature. When mentoring interns or teaching beginners, however, it can readily become apparent just how strange this mindset can be to newcomers.

Mercy the Mercenary in… The App Store

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We return with the penultimate installment of the tale of Mercy, the Mercenary Developer. Last time, she implemented a countdown clock- but nobody told her what it was counting down to, because nobody knew.

It was standing-room only at Rockwood for Governor campaign headquarters. All the tables had been pushed to the walls or folded and stowed away; most of the chairs were stacked. Volunteers milled about, eating delivery pizza, wings, and (probably spiked) soda.

Paula Lives

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"While poking around on my brand new Galaxy S7, I was tempted to pick one ringtone in particular," writes Ronon D..