Manager: IT and I have decided that you will not be doing any rewriting of the legacy code. We paid a lot of money for it and throwing it away would be impossible. Instead you will create a “config file” that will customize the legacy code behaviour to whatever spec we need. IT said this would be possible and would be a very simple way of operating everything going forward. That way no future code needs to be written or maintained, it’s just a matter of changing this “config file” to match our needs.

Dev: Nobody in IT codes though.

Manager: Yes but they work with config files all the time. If you need to be shown how they work just ask them.

Dev: I know how they work it ju—

Manager: Good!! So that should speed things up quite a bit. See this is why developers need managers.

  • 13
    This can't possibly have happened. If you claim otherwise, I refuse to believe.
  • 24
    Pretty long description of the noun "bankruptcy"
  • 31
    "That config file looks like code!"

    "Noooooo... It's just a config file, configures the cpu, tells it what to do."

    "That sounds like code."

    "Nope. Definitely a config file."
  • 15
    "Our config files are now so good, we nolonger need the old code!"
  • 19
    @electrineer I was able to explain it to them a couple of weeks later. You just need to give them a bit to cool down after thinking they came up with a genius idea. I’m on the tail end if the rebuild now. They listen to the things IT says a lot less now. They’ve learned IT is a 3rd party contractor who will tell them anything they want to hear so they can attempt to sell them more multimillion dollar contracts to fail to deliver on the things they are selling. A couple years ago they spent 6M on building misc. “internal productivity tool”. At the end of the year they didn’t have a single line of code written, only a bunch of project governance documentation and meeting minutes. Didn’t even have a scope laid out, just 6M billed to meetings and discussions. They said there wasn’t enough funding for more than that…… wankers.
  • 2
    @boombodies Yep. Exactly as I pictured it.
  • 1
    Dev: “Good fucking bye”
    …Then into the car and gone.
  • 1
    Have never worked on legacy code or config files like this. Can someone please explain the problems here?
  • 4
    @LOLjustCoding It is so ridicilous it almost gets hard to explain.

    Legacy code is just old code. Written long ago. It's not an exact science what is legacy or not.

    What they don't realize that they are asking for is basically a config file that automatically writes code. Basically an AI coder.
  • 2
    So...you want me to create this custom config file. This should magically change the behavior of Legacy. Then we need to hook it up the legacy code, otherwise it is just some random property file that does nothing. To prove a point, give them their file, and let IT config it. Then they ask why it isn't working...sorry that requires code.
  • 2
    @G4nin0 wow, I think they didn't even realise what they were asking for.
  • 1
    any example of what would be a config in their mind?

    Were they thinking about something like a CMS where non-tech people could edit pages?

    Or were they thinking about something like featureToggles to disable existing functionality?
  • 2
    @jiraTicket I’m sure it’s that they work a bunch with things like k8s/ansible/chef/salt where a lot of interacting with those platforms is writing config files to alter setup/settings instructions and someone got it in their head that all “computer stuff” worked like that and tried to convince my company I wasn’t up to the task so they could sell them overseas dev services where they would figure out how to hack something together after my company signed a bill of sale with them
  • 2
    A maybe better explanation...

    Old project, old code.

    Don't touch it / update it.

    Hence you violate the dead carcass by "tuning" the configuration...

    if config[ clientId ][ feature ] ...

    Just plant a thousand nice if statements enabling crude workarounds for specific clients / features etc.

    To put it in precise words: You don't develop anything new, you just mutilate existing code base by adding if guards and sprinkling enough lines to be able to say to a client: We enabled your new features without fully lying.

    Those codebases are a pure jolly to work with... You can quite literally only burn them down, as there is nothing that could be rescued from it.
  • 1
    "Yeah, ok, here's my notice."
  • 0
    I swear, I’ve absolutely had it with these low-code, config sales pitches by people that don’t know how software works. It’s amazing - every low code software implementation I’ve known about has taken years to develop with dozens and dozens of programmers. But the programmers go away after implementation right? Nope, they’re working on v2.0 of the config engine. Such absolute garbage.
  • 0
    @atheist I’ve read which in some nuclear plants they do a similar thing: since programs written in a proper programming language needs to undergo a long certification process operators end up to bypass it altogether by writing any new automation as shell scripts
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