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A sidebar.
Literally just a sidebar.
And yes, this was in Hell.

Its code was spread across at least 40 files, and it used a bunch of freaking global variables to unfurl accordion sections, hide other sections/items, highlight the active item, etc. These were set (and unset!) in controller actions, so if you didn’t unset one, it remained open and highlighted until another action unset it.

Some of the global variable checks (and permissions checks) were done in the individual views, some outside of the `render` statements that include them. Some of them inherited variables from the parent, some from the controller, some from globals. Getting a view to work was trial and error. Oh, and some had their own inline css, some used css classes.

Subsections were separate views, so were some individual items, both sometimes rendered using shared templates, and all of the views and templates had the exact. same. filename. (They were located in different directories, and thus located automagically via implicit relative paths.) So, it was a virtually endless parade of`render partial => “sidebar”`. Which file does that point to? Good luck figuring it out!

Also, comments in several places said adding a new section required a database migration. I never did figure out why.

Anyway, I discovered this because I had an innocuous-sounding ticket to rearrange the sidebar, group some sections/items under different permissions, move some items to another menu, and nest some others differently.

It took me two bloody weeks, and this was when I was extremely productive every day.

Afterward, I was so disgusted by it that I took a day and removed every trace of the sidebar I could find, and rewrote it. I defined the sidebar in a hash, and wrote a simple recursive builder to generate the markup. It supported optional icons, n-level nesting, automatic highlighting of the current item and all parent nodes, compound and inherited permissions, wrapping of long names, hover and unfurl animations, etc. Took me a couple hundred lines of Ruby at the most, plus about the same of css.

Felt so good to remove that blight.

Comments
  • 2
    Fuck legacy
  • 4
    The joys of refactoring spaghetti code, that wholesome feeling when its optimized and works as intended 😇
  • 0
    WTF???? How is it POSSIBLE to create a sidebar with 40 files?? Just create a container with selection objects, does this NEED 40 files???
  • 0
    @TeachMeCode Of course not!

    But it’s also not easy to create a sidebar that requires this much cruft. And it’s certainly not easy to update.
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