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Oh, man, I just realized I haven't ranted one of my best stories on here!
So, here goes!
A few years back the company I work for was contacted by an older client regarding a new project.
The guy was now pitching to build the website for the Parliament of another country (not gonna name it, NDAs and stuff), and was planning on outsourcing the development, as he had no team and he was only aiming on taking care of the client service/project management side of the project.
Out of principle (and also to preserve our mental integrity), we have purposely avoided working with government bodies of any kind, in any country, but he was a friend of our CEO and pleaded until we singed on board.
Now, the project itself was way bigger than we expected, as the wanted more of an internal CRM, centralized document archive, event management, internal planning, multiple interfaced, role based access restricted monster of an administration interface, complete with regular user website, also packed with all kind of features, dashboards and so on.
Long story short, a lot bigger than what we were expecting based on the initial brief.
The development period was hell. New features were coming in on a weekly basis. Already implemented functionality was constantly being changed or redefined. No requests we ever made about clarifications and/or materials or information were ever answered on time.
They also somehow bullied the guy that brought us the project into also including the data migration from the old website into the new one we were building and we somehow ended up having to extract meaningful, formatted, sanitized content parsing static HTML files and connecting them to download-able files (almost every page in the old website had files available to download) we needed to also include in a sane way.
Now, don't think the files were simple URL paths we can trace to a folder/file path, oh no!!! The links were some form of hash combination that had to be exploded and tested against some king of database relationship tables that only had hashed indexes relating to other tables, that also only had hashed indexes relating to some other tables that kept a database of the website pages HTML file naming. So what we had to do is identify the files based on a combination of hashed indexes and re-hashed HTML file names that in the end would give us a filename for a real file that we had to then search for inside a list of over 20 folders not related to one another.
So we did this. Created a script that processed the hell out of over 10000 HTML files, database entries and files and re-indexed and re-named all this shit into a meaningful database of sane data and well organized files.
So, with this we were nearing the finish line for the project, which by now exceeded the estimated time by over to times.
We test everything, retest it all again for good measure, pack everything up for deployment, simulate on a staging environment, give the final client access to the staging version, get them to accept that all requirements are met, finish writing the documentation for the codebase, write detailed deployment procedure, include some automation and testing tools also for good measure, recommend production setup, hardware specs, software versions, server side optimization like caching, load balancing and all that we could think would ever be useful, all with more documentation and instructions.
As the project was built on PHP/MySQL (as requested), we recommended a Linux environment for production. Oh, I forgot to tell you that over the development period they kept asking us to also include steps for Windows procedures along with our regular documentation. Was a bit strange, but we added it in there just so we can finish and close the damn project.
So, we send them all the above and go get drunk as fuck in celebration of getting rid of them once and for all...
Next day: hung over, I get to the office, open my laptop and see on new email. I only had the one new mail, so I open it to see what it's about.
Lo and behold! The fuckers over in the other country that called themselves "IT guys", and were the ones making all the changes and additions to our requirements, were not capable enough to follow step by step instructions in order to deploy the project on their servers!!!
[Continues in the comments]27
UPDATE: I have my dream job.
About a year ago I commented on Devrant that I was having some hard luck interviewing for development jobs.
Shortly after my post I decided to lower my expectations and took a job at a tech support call center.(3 month contract)
After getting a little experience(Not just a degree) I was able to land a hardware support job at a fortune 500 company.(Not what a programmer really wants 😂)
I worked hard and started writing tools at home to help with the job. I started giving them out to the other techs and put them on a little internal website for easy access.
About 3 months ago I just became a software engineer within the company.(after 6 months of hardware repair.) The main reason I got the job was because I showed them how much overtime and extra work I had done and that the techs relied on my software to do there jobs and that I was dependable.
It was hard work but it was worth it. And I built software that I never would have done if I hadn't taken this "lower job"
So keep your chin up and your fingers on the keys, I was in your shoes a year ago. 😉12
This week I quit the corporate life in favour of a much smaller company (60 people in total) and i never felt so good.
After 3 years in 2 big corporations, I began to hate coding mainly because of:
- internal political games. It's like living inside House of Cards everyday.
- management and non-tech people choosing tech stacks. Angular 4 + Bootstrap 4 alpha version + AG-Grid + IE11. Ohhh yeah. Not.
- overtime (even if it was paid double). I never did a single minute of OT for fixing something that I caused. I spent days fixing things caused by others and implementing promises that other people made.
- meetings. I spend 50-60% of the time in pointless meetings (I tracked them in certain time intervals) but the workload is same like I was working 8 hours / day.
- working in encapsulated environments without access to internet or with limited access to internet (no GitHub, no StackOverflow etc.)
- continuously changing work scope. Everyday the management wants something new introduced in the current sprint/release and nobody accepts that they have to remove other things from the scope in order to proper implement everything.
- designers that think they are working for Apple and are arguing with things like "but it's just a button! why does it take 2 days to implement?"
- 20 apps installed additionally on my phone (Citrix Receiver, RSA Token, Mobile@Work Suite etc.) just to be able to read my email
- working with outdated IDEs and tools because they have to approve every new version of a software.
- making tickets for anything. Do you want a glass of water? Open a ticket and ask for it.
- KPIs. KPIs everywhere. You don't deserve anything because the KPIs were not accomplished.
The bad part of the above things is that they affect your day-to-day personality even if you don't see it. You become more like a rock with almost 0 feelings and interests.
This is my first written "rant". If anyone is interested, I will post different situations that will explain a lot of the above aspects.13
Found in one of our internal version control tools today. The Dark Knight is among us.3
Was asked to help a team of interns in a remote country, finish an app. Not only were they terrible at literally every aspect of development, but were arrogant and argued their "new" ways were right.
Spent weeks on the project being nice, trying to help them, sending them links to standards and documents, pointing out unit tests shouldn't be failing, everyone needs to have the same versions of the tools etc. You know, basic shit.
Things got quite heated a few weeks in when they started completely ignoring me. Shit was breaking all over the place and crashing, as I thought we were going to build it one way, and they went and built it another.
Was practically begging the team architect and my manager for help dealing with them. Only reply I got was the usual "were aware of the problem and looking into it" bullshit.
Eventually after the app was done, a mutual agreement was reached that the 2 teams would split (I maintain they were kicked out). All the local devs were happy, managers had mentioned how difficult they were and it would be great for us to finally work on our own.
So I thought everything was fine ... until my end of year performance review came along.
Seems I'm quite poor at "working with others" and I "don't try hard enough with others", it was clear I was struggling with the remote team and "made no effort".
WELL FUCK RIGHT OFF
Not being cocky, but I've never had anything like that in a performance review for the past 7 years. I'm a hard worker, and never have trouble making friends with colleagues. Everyone in the country complained about these remote fuckers, even the manager, who I begged for help. And the end result is I need to work harder.
I came in early, stayed late to fit their timezone, took extra tasks, did research for them, wrote docs. And I was told to work harder.
Only reason I didn't quit, was my internal transfer request was approved lol. New team is looking at projects orders of magnitude more impressive, never been happier.3
Not specifically dev related other than being hired as a dev, more a corporate thing.
I have medical issues that mean I can be a bit variable in my starting time. Company was aware and floated flexible hours as a possible solution, but never said it *was* a solution, and just left it there really breezy.
Nailed this down with my line manager a couple weeks later after HR lost their shit, apologised and thought nothing of it.
Few days later I read a blog post about IP clauses in contracts that reminded me I intended to ask, as mine didn’t have one.
Asked HR, no response for like an hour, then “we’ll get back to you on that”
Following week, pulled into a sudden meeting. “Sorry for short notice of meeting, but we’re terminating your employment effective immediately for ‘lack of commitment’”.
The day before, the company literally had a company day where they banged on about their values and how they wanted to support their employees and foster an environment for good health and good mental health.
No disciplinary proceedings. My line manager found out 5 minutes before I did.
I emailed a few colleagues afterwards and apologised, and they were stunned it had gone down the way it did.
I was so blindsided and angry in the meeting, especially after I believed I’d found a company that was actually different and cared.
And I did my work, I stayed late quite often, even produced a couple internal devops tools in my time there.
The kicker is that it was within the probation period, so I have literally no recourse for any action against them.
What’s the most bullshit corporate clusterfuck you’ve been through devRant?2
Mom: my photos are gone. Can you find them?
Me: *searches the phone an finds nothing.*
Me: i cant find them.
Me: *Tries to copy 5GB of random Data*
Phone: Copy Error
Its a noname china phone my Father bought. I warned him about it, because they stole the Samsung design and it said that it was Version 8.1, but didnt had the features 8.1 has
Me: The Phone deleted it.
Mom: why would a Phone delete my Photos?
Me: because the manufacturer wanted to maximize the money he can get and made an device with higher specs on the paper than it has and manipulated the internal tools to hide this.
My father asked me why she is so furious. I said to him: because you got screwed so easily.6
Visual Basic at high-school, pascal and C and Java at University. VBA for macros on a job. html+css+js learnt o er a weekend to pass the screening for a new job, then ruby and php on that job to build internal tools. Now I am into python for data science. It has been fun.1
Internal mail form CIO's office:
"Thank you for being part of the internal trial for NPMe, we have decided to remove this tool in favour of Artifactory because of its support for multiple platforms and tools. We are sorry for the inconvenience, here is a link to migration scripts ..."
Migration "script" readme, please clone this repo, create file A, and B, and install these 2 dependencies.
- "install via homebrew ..."
- .... homebrew needs to update, checking for updates
- 10 mins later = Update failed, please upgrade to Ruby version 2.3
- Installs ruby version manager
- GPG signature verification failed
- Install GPG v2 + accept keys
- Install ruby version manager
- "please execute this command before running rvm"
- execute command
- "rvm install ruby-2.3"
- Install failed, please see log file
- Opens log file
- "Xcode on its own is not sufficient, please install xcode cli tools"
- Install xcode tools
- 5 minutes later -> "rvm install ruby-2.3"
- 10 minutes later "brew install jq"
Ok back to read me, "login to Artifactory, go here and copy paste XXX."
- Login to Artifactory
- Eventually find repo
- Login again to actually see credentials for some reason
- Screen doesn't match instructions in readme
- Click around
- Back to readme
- Back to artifactory
- Login again
- Execute command auth / setup command
- Copy contents to npmrc file .... now all my scoped packages are going to point to 1 specific repo
Fuck the migration, Fuck these shitty instructions, i'll set them all up again manually. See tags below for further opinions on this matter.2
Nope, definitely not going to work for that customer anymore. Fuck this shit. At least for this week.
My background: mid-30 years old, some kind of business & IT consultant / lead dev working for a mid sized CRM consulting company, with approx 15 years of experience in development and software architecture, most of the time "thinking" in C#, still learning new languages, being a cloud evangelist and team lead. We usually have customers with customers (B2B/B2C).
Personality type "campaigner" (ENFP-A).
Today the project lead of my client (a big corporation in the energy industry) told me that he still didn't order all the necessary resources for the cloud project. Just to be clear: He's on the client side. We (the architects, one internal and me) told him one month ago what we need for the beginning. Just a few things - an Azure subscription, a license for the CRM platform, and our dev tools.
And now let's guess when the project is planned to begin? Yeah, right: 1st of April. NO APRIL'S FOOL. And guess what? Next Tuesday we'll do the onboarding for the new (external) devs, and NOTHING will be ready. Yeah, just let us build stuff in our minds, and on the whiteboards, because it's an AGILE project, right? We don't need any systems and tools...
And now he sent me the questionnaires which need to be answered before any cloud service can be ordered by the corporate IT. And yes, he didn't answer a single thing, and just meant "Those are architecture questions" (they are not) and (of course) "please provide the answers until Monday morning, so we can FINALLY order the services."
Yeah, you fucktard. Of course it's MY FAULT now. Maybe I should write an email to your boss asking how we can speed things up a little bit...4
We had 1 Android app to be developed for charity org for data collection for ground water level increase competition among villages.
Initial scope was very small & feasible. Around 10 forms with 3-4 fields in each to be developed in 2 months (1 for dev, 1 for testing). There was a prod version which had similar forms with no validations etc.
We had received prod source, which was total junk. No KT was given.
In existing source, spelling mistakes were there in the era of spell/grammar checking tools.
There were rural names of classes, variables in regional language in English letters & that regional language is somewhat known to some developers but even they don't know those rural names' meanings. This costed us at great length in visualizing data flow between entities. Even Google translate wasn't reliable for this language due to low Internet penetration in that language region.
OOP wasn't followed, so at 10 places exact same code exists. If error or bug needed to be fixed it had to be fixed at all those 10 places.
No foreign key relationships was there in database while actually there were logical relations among different entites.
No created, updated timestamps in records at app side to have audit trail.
Small part of that existing source was quite good with Fragments, MVP etc. while other part was ancient Activities with business logic.
We have to support Android 4.0 to 9.0 of many screen sizes & resolutions without any target devices issued to us by the client.
Then Corona lockdown happened & during that suddenly client side professionals became over efficient.
Client started adding requirements like very complex validation which has inter-entity dependencies. Then they started filing bugs from prod version on us.
Let's come to the developers' expertise,
2 developers with 8+ years of experience & they're not knowing how to resolve conflicts in git merge which were created by them only due to not following git best practice for coding like only appending new implementation in existing classes for easy auto merge etc.
They are thinking like handling click events is called development.
They don't want to think about OOP, well structured code. They don't want to re-use code mostly & when they copy paste, they think it's called re-use.
They wanted to follow old school Java development in memory scarce Android app life cycle in end user phone. They don't understand memory leaks, even though it's pin pointed by memory leak detection tools (Leak canary etc.).
Now 3.5 months are over, that competition was called off for this year due to Corona & development is still ongoing.
We are nowhere close to completion even for initial internal QA round.
On top of this, nothing is billable so it's like financial suicide.
Remember whatever said here is only 10% of what is faced.
- An Engineering lead in a half billion dollar company.7
Am I the only one who does not like to use the Internal tools of company? In my company they have almost everything made by themselves.
I do not see any benefit for my skills, and above this the documentation sucks.9
When you get a summer job at the university to improve internal tools and asking your guarantor why the crappyness of his code is evident even to a noob pythonista like me and getting the answer like "I'm writing this only until it does what I want" kinda frustrates and demotivates. I'm sure this is NOT how things should be done.1
TL;DR: A new "process" for collaboration between teams was created in order to stonewall requests from my team.
A couple months ago, we created a new Dev team that specializes in writing internal tools. This team was staffed with internal developers, and got a separate manager. The whole point of this team was to collaborate with my dev team so we can both help each other develop tools that the company needs.
One of the developers that was on my team went over to this team while he and I were still working on a big application. For a few weeks, he still worked on this application as he normally would, and we'd sit with each other and work through features together whenever we needed a fresh set of eyes.
Well, eventually his new team got protective of him and created a new "process" for our teams to request assistance from one another. So now instead of just popping over to someone's desk to ask a quick question, you have to send an email to the team and request that you can borrow that particular developer for a question, and then the entire team sits down and discusses whether or not they're going to allow that person to answer your question. Then after a week of discussion, if they decide to allow it, they schedule a meeting for a week later, in which you will get the question answered.
So instead of just spending 2 minutes to ask and answer the question, you have to spend weeks in order to request assistance, and then schedule a meeting.
It's ridiculous, and it's all because his team got protective that he was working with another Dev team. Dev teams collaborate all the time, and work together. My team is constantly helping other teams, and we don't have this ridiculous process. We get asked a question, and we answer it. Simple as that.
Last week, I sent an email for assistance in completing a feature, and didn't hear back. I talked to the Product Owner for the team, and he said "Just send an email," to which I responded that I did and hadn't got a response. He said "Oh....." I then told my boss that this is an enormous bottleneck, and he seemed surprised hearing that this is a bottleneck.
A week passed and today I still hadn't got a response, so my boss reached out to the Product Owner to push him. Finally, I got a response and they scheduled a meeting to answer my question 3 days down the road. So it's going on 2 weeks to get this simple question answered.
Normally I'd just have the other developer come over and help, but apparently they yelled at him the last time he did that.
The issue is that the process was created with the assistance of our "senior" developers, who never work with this other team in this capacity, so they just nodded and smiled and let them put this ridiculous process in place.
Like, get off your high horses. You don't "own" him, he's allowed to collaborate with other teams. This question would've taken literally 10 minutes, but because of your new "process" you've turned it into a 2 week debacle and you've effectively delayed the app launch with your pettiness.
They say that this process isn't intended to prevent us from getting assistance, and that might not have been the original intention of the Product Owner/manager, but it's very clear that the developers on the other team are taking advantage of it and using it as a big stonewall so they can beat around the bush and avoid providing assistance when it's needed.
If this becomes a trend, I'm going to schedule a meeting (which apparently they love to do,) and we're going re-work this entire process, because it's extremely counterproductive and seems to only exist in order to create red tape.3
Here comes lots of random pieces of advice...
Ain't no shortcuts.
Be prepared, becoming a good programmer (there are lots of shitty programmers, not so many good ones) takes lots of pain, frustration, and failure. It's going to suck for awhile. There will be false starts. At some point you will question whether you are cut out for it or not. Embrace the struggle -- if you aren't failing, you aren't learning.
Remember that in 2021 being a programmer is just as much (maybe even moreso) about picking up new things on the fly as it is about your crystalized knowledge. I don't want someone who has all the core features of some language memorized, I want someone who can learn new things quickly. Everything is open book all the time. I have to look up pretty basic stuff all the time, it's just that it takes me like twelve seconds to look it up and digest it.
Build, build, build, build, build. At least while you are learning, you should always be working on a project. Don't worry about how big the project is, small is fine.
Remember that programming is a tool, not the end goal in and of itself. Nobody gives a shit how good a carpenter is at using some specialized saw, they care about what the carpenter can build with that specialized saw.
Plan your build. This is a VERY important part of the process that newer devs/programmers like to skip. You are always free to change the plan, but you should have a plan going on. Don't store your plan in your head. If you plan exists only in your head you are doing it wrong. Write that shit down! If you create a solid development process, the cognitive overhead for any project goes way down.
Don't fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others, especially to the experts you are learning from. They are good because they have done the thing that you are struggling with at least a thousand times.
Don't fall into the trap of comparing yourself today to yourself yesterday. This will make it seem like you haven't learned anything and aren't on the move. Compare yourself to yourself last week, last month, last year.
Have experienced programmers review your code. Don't be afraid to ask, most of us really really enjoy this (if it makes you feel any better about the "inconvenience", it will take a mid-level waaaaay less time to review your code that it took for you to write it, and a senior dev even less time than that). You will hate it, it will suck having someone seem like they are just ripping your code apart, but it will make you so much better so much faster than just relying on your own internal knowledge.
When you start to be able to put the pieces together, stay humble. I've seen countless devs with a year of experience start to get a big head and talk like they know shit. Don't keep your mouth closed, but as a newer dev if you are talking noise instead of asking questions there is no way I will think you are ready to have the Jr./Associate/Whatever removed from your title.
Don't ever. Ever. Ever. Criticize someone else's preferred tools. Tooling is so far down the list of what makes a good programmer. This is another thing newer devs have a tendency to do, thinking that their tool chain is the only way to do it. Definitely recommend to people alternatives to check out. A senior dev using Notepad++, a terminal window, and a compiler from 1977 is probably better than you are with the newest shiniest IDE.
Don't be a dick about terminology/vocabulary. Different words mean different things to different people in different organizations. If what you call GNU/Linux somebody else just calls Linux, let it go man! You understand what they mean, and if you don't it's your job to figure out what they mean, not tell them the right way to say it.
One analogy I like to make is that becoming a programmer is a lot like becoming a chef. You don't become a chef by following recipes (i.e. just following tutorials and walk-throughs). You become a chef by learning about different ingredients, learning about different cooking techniques, learning about different styles of cuisine, and (this is the important part), learning how to put together ingredients, techniques, and cuisines in ways that no one has ever showed you about before.
So someone complained to my bosses boss about some internal page where I collected some of our own funny git commit messages, because they were not "meaningful", and I had to take down said page.
Fuck that narrow-minded seriousness, why be so German? If we have to debug multi-threaded C++ programs, we need that bit of fun and sarcasm to stay sane. But probably that someone is a member of some of these "professional" Agile teams that waste a day a week with fucking retros, sprint planning or other mind-crippling meta stuff, then evaluating frameworks and tools, while we are doing motherfucking programing.
A loooong time ago...
I've started my first serious job as a developer. I was young yet enthusiastic as well as a kind of a greenhorn. First time working in a business, working with a team full of experienced full-lowered ultra-seniors which were waiting to teach me the everything about software engineering.
Beside one senior which was the team lead as well there were two other devs. One of them was very experienced and a pretty nice guy, I could ask him anytime and he would sit down with me a give me advice. I've learned a lot of him.
Fast forward three months (yes, three months).
I was not that full kind of greenhorn anymore and people started to give me serious tasks. I had some experience in doing deployments and stuff from my other job as a sysadmin before so I was soon known as the "deployment guy", setting up deployments for our projects the right way and monitoring as well as executing them. But as it should be in every good team we had to share our knowledge so one can be on vacation or something and another colleague was able to do the task as well.
So now we come to the other teammate. The one I was not talking about till now. And that for a reason.
He was very nice too and had a couple of years as a dev on his CV, but...yeah...like...
When I switched some production systems to Linux he had to learn something about Linux. Everytime he encountered an error message he turned around and asked me how to fix it. Even. For. The. Simplest. Error. He. Could. Google. Up.
I mean okay, when one's new to a system it's not that easy, but when you have an error message which prints out THE SOLUTION FOR THE ERROR and he asks me how to fix it...excuse me?
This happened over 30 times.
Later on I had to introduce him to the deployment workflow for a project, so he could eventually deploy the staging environment and the production environment by hisself.
I introduced him. Not for 10 minutes. I explained him the whole workflow and the very main techniques and tools used for like two hours. Every then and when I stopped and asked him if he had any questions. He had'nt! Wonderful!
Haha. Oh no.
So he had to do his first production deployment. I sat by his side to monitor everything. He did well. One or two questions but he did well.
The same when he did his second prod deploy. Everythings fine.
And then. It. Frikkin. Begins.
I was working on the project, did some changes to the code. Okay, deploy it to dev, time for testing.
Error checking out git. Okay, awkward. Got to investigate...
On the dev server were some files changed. Strange. The repo was all up to date. But these changes seemed newer because they were fixing at least one bug I was working on.
This doubles the strangeness.
I want over to my colleague's desk.
I asked him about any recent changes to the codebase.
"Yeah, there was a bug you were working on right? But the ticket was open like two days so I thought I'll fix it"
What the Heck dude, this bug was not critical at all and I had other tasks which were more important. Okay, but what about the changed files?
"Oh yeah, I could not remember the exact deployment steps (hint from the author: I wrote them down into our internal Wiki, he wrote them done by hisself when introducing him and after all it's two frikkin commands), so I uploaded them via FTP"
"Uhm... that's not how we do it buddy. We have to follow the procedure to avoid..."
"The boss said it was fine so I uploaded the changes directly to the production servers. It's so much easier via FTP and not this deployment crap, sorry to say that"
You. Did. What?
I could not resist and asked the boss about this. But this had not Effect at all, was the long-time best-buddy-schmuddy-friend of the boss colleague's father.
So in the end I sat there reverting, committing and deploying.
It's soooo much harder this deployment crap.
Years later, a long time after I quit the job and moved to another company, I get to know that the colleague now is responsible for technical project management.
Karma's a bitch, right?
Long story ahead
I recently started a job in a smallish startup doing web development in a mostly js stack as an entry-junior engineer/dev. I’m the only person actively working on our internal tools as my Lead Engineer (the only other in house dev) is working on other stuff.
Now I was given a two week sprint to rebuild a portion of our legacy internal app from angular 1.2 with material-ui looking components with no psd’s or cut-outs of any kind to a React and bootstrap ui for the front end and convert our .net API routes into Node.js ones. I had to build the API routes, SQL queries (as there were plenty of changes and reiterations that I had to go through to get the exact data I needed to display), and front end. I worked from 9am until 11pm every day for those two weeks including weekends as our company has a huge show this upcoming week.
I finish up this past sunday and push to our staging environment. The UI is 5.5/10 as we’re changing all of our styling to bootstrap and I’m no ui expert. The api has tests and works flawlessly (tm).
So we go into code review and everything is working as expected until one tab that I made erred out and was written down as a “Needs to be fixed.”
This fix was just a null value handler that took three minutes and a push back to staging, but that wasnt before a stupendous amount of shit being flung my way for the ui not looking great and that one bug was a huge deal and that he couldnt believe it slipped through my fingers.
Honestly, I’m feeling really unmotivated to do anything else. I overworked myself for that only to be shit on for one mistake and my ui being lack-luster with no guides.
Am I being a baby about this or is this something to learn from?1
This weeks question fits me well, as I am still unsure about the full details of how the fuck this all came together and was about to just rant about it anyway.
Ever since this companies network equipment and cabling has been updated, a lot of vital tools went down and bug out every now and then, at seemingly random times.
The codebase is a horrible mess to begin with and random things execute at random times and at random places spread all over different resources that get random hooks from random physical values etc.
Turns out (or at least what it so far seems like) all of them somehow sync their clock and other variables based on how many (valid-?) requests it gets per measured time and similar oddities, so when the network equipment got updated, that meant that multiple processes now could reach each other much faster and therefore threw off thousands of values and internal clocks.
There's a total of like 600 systems that are all "separate" from each other but all need to communicate in-sync for the production chain to properly work. Thankfully I didn't sign anything yet, so might actually just redirect them to somebody else, I am not ready to age 20 years, even for the amount that would pay.1
!rant from a support guy
I was tasked to migrate an Exchange 2003 server (yes, those are still used) for an upcoming Office 365 deployment. There are no direct upgrade path from one another, as far as we know
My task was to export PSTs from mailboxes. Great, a native tool exist for that in 2003 (exmerge). But only for less than 2 GB mailboxes because ANSI/Unicode! Half of our mailbox busts that limit. Oh, it seems Exchange 2007 has a PowerShell command for exporting to PST as well! But pre-SP3, that command relies on a local installation of Outlook on the server (DAFUQ), and has been superseded by another "standalone" powershell command. So I install a bogus Windows 2012 server only for that purpose, with Exchange Management Tools (which, by the way, is bundled with the Exchange installation setup and REQUIRES to have IIS installed on the target machine. Also, if you install ONLY the Exchange 2007 Management Tools and wish to uninstall them afterwards, you can't because the uninstaller wants me to select an Exchange Role to remove, which are all unchecked in my tools-only setup). Never worked, and Google-fu says that the newer Exchange 2007 New-MailboxExportRequest command seems to have removed Exchange 2003 support.
So i'm back to installing a pre-SP3 Exchange 2007. Then the older Export-Mailbox powershell command whines about 64bits and 32bit incompatiblity-- actually I ***HAVE*** to have the whole OS/software stack 32bit ONLY. Don't ask me why!
Some article I found says I could fire up an XP virtual machine for that, I go for Win 7 x86. "Sorry, Microsoft Exchange won't be installed on a workstation environment because reasons." All right then, let's go for an old Windows Server 2003 x86. Have you tried to boot this up in an Hyper-V environment where mouse and keyboard support for Windows Server 2003 are apparently optional? No keyboard AND mouse events sent to the guest machine at all.
* Sigh *, let's use a Windows Server 2008, but WATCH OUT! Microsoft has discontinued x86 support on their W2008 R2 release, so non-R2 for me. Even then, mouse event wasn't sent until I installed guest additions.
After all, export-mailbox ended up working, but that costed me two days of banging my head against the wall. (Oh, and I take internal calls inbetween as well...)
And that's why I aspire to be a programmer. Thank you for nothing, Microsoft!4
At my previous company, we used tools from all over the place. We switched between tools at will. Sometimes, some team would decide to use some tool while the rest of the company would use something else. The worst part was that there was no Single-Sign-On (SSO) either. Everyone would need to have an account on all of these said tools. It was chaos.
I realized that being integrated into one environment (even though would have the cost of a vendor-lock-in) was the best option to have because in that case, we wouldn't have to deal with operational hurdles like having integration from one tool to another. They would just come baked-in with the whole environment. That's how GSuite (formerly Google Apps for Work), Atlassian and other players succeeded - they gave a complete suite of services / software that integrated well with each other. You could jump back and forth between services without having to bother about integration with other tools. They'd all be there wherever you wanted them to be. Even cloud providers so that opportunity and built on it - Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Kubernetes (in itself).
Another example is a company that used Jira, Confluence and Hipchat but for some dumb reason used Gerrit for their code review / hosting. Eventually, they realized that managing the integration with the Atlassian tools was far more expensive than getting bitbucket and migrating completely into the Atlassian environment.
It's always the integration that matters. Everything else is secondary.
Hi I’m a Python Developer, tired of doing internal applications using Excel as a UI. I’m thinking of proposing to turn most of our projects into internal web apps instead. Has anyone gone through this sort of problem?
My team is quite pro at using Excel, so naturally they prefer to use the tools I build from Excel. Some of those tools are also used by external teams, but they are not as capable with Excel, so they need supervision and guidance.
There are multiple concerns that arise:
- I code on Mac, but they need to run it on Windows, so compatibility issues
- Some of their laptops might not have enough resources to run the tasks
- Errors are harder to trace and could be very user-specific.
- New developers might not be familiar with Excel and the way to integrate with Python
I would like to know your opinion or criticism10
Without a doubt it has to be the internal company search engine/file finding tool @thewamz and I wrote.
The company has a wide UNC network with files scattered all over the place and they need a way to keep track of where the files get moved to (they can and do get moved). The original tool was written in Java/Tomcat and didn't use any frameworks or utilities beyond custom written ones, no orms, and the SQL was just raw strings. The program didn't take into account that files might be moved or deleted so it never removed anything from the database, it just kept adding files and never removing them.
It however never stores files itself, just links to files elsewhere on the UNC network.
It took six months to get it into what might be a stable beta or release candidate state. The user interface is good, very simple and intuitive, the whole thing was rewritten in python/django, there were issues with utf 8 (and mysql not fully supporting utf 8 in its own utf 8 mode), we added a regex search mode (which was sorely lacking), the search used to take up to fifteen minutes however we sped it up to less than a minute (worst case when a user simply puts "^$" as the regex search). It has a multi threaded design which does some checks to ensure it doesn't spawn too many threads and get stuck in constant Gil switching. Still some bugs to fix, like moving the processing of results returned by the server in a web worker so that the content widget doesn't lock up processing millions of search results and moving the back end to use asynchronous python might gain a performance boost. But on the whole I think the system is ready to replace the older system that all the users are frustrated with and constantly complain about.
However the annoying bit is... How to actually get the new system online, while I am responsible for the development of tools and their maintenance, I am not responsible for their initial deployment and that means I have no idea when (or even if) my new tool will even ever be released :/
Probably paywall but... Yes another case of super smart people doing the dumbest things2
My work product: Or why I learned to get twitchy around Java...
I maintain a Java based test system, that tests a raster image processor. The client is a Java swing project that contains CORBA bindings to the internal API of the raster image processor. It also has custom written UI elements and duplicated functionality that became available in later versions of Java, but because some of the third party tools we use don't work with later versions of Java for some reason, it's not possible to upgrade Java to gain things as simple as recursive directory deletion, yes the version of Java we have to use does not support something as simple as that and custom code had to be written to support it.
Because of the requirement to build the API bindings along with the client the whole application must be built with the raster image processor build chain, which is a heavily customised jam build system. So an ant task calls out to execute a jam task and jam does about 90% of the heavy lifting.
In addition to the Java code there's code for interpreting PostScript files, as these can be used to alter the behaviour of the raster image processor during testing.
The server isn't much better though. It's a tomcat based application that was written by someone who had never built a tomcat application before, or any web application for that matter and uses raw SQL strings instead of an orm, it doesn't use MVC in any way, and insane amount of functionality is dumped into the jsp files.
It too interacts with a raster image processor to create difference masks of the output, running PostScript as needed. It spawns off multiple threads and can spend days processing hundreds of gigabytes of image output (depending on the size of the tests).
We're stuck on Tomcat seven because we can't upgrade beyond Java 6, which brings a whole manner of security issues, but that eager little Java updated will break the tool chain if it gets its way.
Between these two components we have the Java RMI server (sometimes) working to help generate image data on the client side before all images are pulled across a UNC network path onto the server that processes test jobs (in PDF format), by reading into the xref table of said PDF, finding the embedded image data (for our server consumed test files are just flate encoded TIFF files wrapped around just enough PDF to make them valid) and uses a tool to create a difference mask of two images.
This tool is very error prone, it can't difference images of different sizes, colour spaces, orientations or pixel depths, but it's the best we have.
The tool is installed in both the client and server if the client can generate images it'll query from the server which ones it needs to and if it can't the server will use the tool itself.
Our shells have custom profiles for linking to a whole manner of third party tools and libraries, including a link to visual studio 2005 (more indirectly related build dependencies), the whole profile has to ensure that absolutely no operating system pollution gets into the shell, most of our apps are installed in our home directories and we have to ensure our paths are correct for every single application we add.
And... Fucking and!
Most of the tools are stored as source bundles in a version control system... Not got or mercurial, not perforce or svn, not even CVS... They use a custom built version control system that is built on top of RCS, it keeps a central database of locked files (using soft and hard locks along with write protecting the files in the file system) to ensure users can't get merge conflicts by preventing other users from writing to the files at all.
Branching is heavy weight and can take the best part of a day to create a new branch and populate the history.
Gathering the tools alone to build the Dev environment to build my project takes the best part of a week.
What should be a joy come hardware refresh year becomes a curse ("Well fuck, now I loose a week spending it setting up the Dev environment on ANOTHER machine").
Needless to say, I enjoy NOT working with Java. A lot of this isn't Javas fault, but there's a lot of things that Java (specifically the Java 6 version we're stuck on) does not make easy.
This is why I prefer to build my web apps in python or node, hell, I'd even take Lua... Just... Compiling web pages into executable Java classes, why? I mean I understand the implementation of how this happens, but why did my predecessor have to choose this? Why?2
Wow, I feel like idiot.
I struggled making documentation becouse I didn't know proper tools.
I sometimes used markdown but it was for internal git pages when I did, other times I just was doing crap within html (and I hate frontend and Dubba cannot frontend and its generally bad idea to give me html)
Than I had random talk with someone on the internet and he was suprised I never used (and known) markdown to html and I was more like "thats genius, why the fuck I didnt know its a thing".
New startup - our backend stack is php, js, mysql, mongo & redis
Can you guys recommend nice-to-have internal tools that could make out lifes easier? We’ve been using confluence so far and thinking on grabbing a jira license.
Any advice is helpful 🤪11
After my trainig period in the new job (10 weeks), I joined a different department with very expirenced guys, one of them got my mentor, with him I was at my first plant (continues casting platn where next to me where thousands of kg molten steel) where we updated all controllers to a OS. From him I learned all the real life best practice stuff as well as the internal dev tools.
Without him I would not be able to be mentor to my new college now.
And also he became a friend
I am working in the web department of a marketing company. Well, in the department there is me and my boss.
I am trying to push the idea of using git for the development of our internal tools but my boss doesn't see why it's a better way to manage our source code than using a network drive backed up with Timemachine.
What good points can I show him to try to convince him.1
Just wanted to do some scripted image resizing for school in school because the teacher asked me to help her with that.
So I thought: Let's just write a tiny script. Written the script in almost no time (just iterates over all jpg's and resizes them)
Now I tried to run it. Didn't have my laptop so I had to somehow run it on their windows PCs. At least it's windows 10, unlike other schools that still run XP and stuff so I thought it might be doable. Well guess what, nope it wasn't.
First tried to install imagemagick, that didn't work as only teacher accounts have admin and the teacher was already pretty scarred once he saw me doing stuff in powershell so I thought I'd better not ask to do this via a teacher account and mess with stuff as admin.
Next method: Installing msys2. That worked at least (after taking forever to install and having to mess with the av software to get it to run).
And there comes the next problem: pacman doesn't connect via the proxy so I can't download any packages. There is free wifi but only for teachers, and students aren't going to get access until the school finally has a faster connection because they'd (understandably) cause this connection to be constantly overloaded. I just happen to have access to this wifi network, too, because at least the guys from the IT dept know how bad using proxies under linux is. So I connect via wifi and it works. At least I thought: After running the script it yields weird errors about unsupported arguments even though the command is exactly the same I have been using for years (already checked typos twice)
Then got the idea of simply installing imagemagick on termux on android and transferring the files onto my phone.
Too bad we aren't allowed to attach our own USBs to the pcs. Luckily I got a rooted phone so I simply activate adb over network and connect to it.
After downloading the platform-tools I can't run them because of AV software. Luckily there is an option to add an exception per executable so I do that. After doing that it works.... nope it doesn't. The wifi only allows 443/tcp and 80/tcp, even for internal network devices.
So that's it. I'm simply going to upload that stuff to my nextcloud and convert it at home.
Windows, I hate you!!!2
It's always fucking something with my companies buggy internal development tools. Small tasks that turn into figuring out a vague error
Almost all the company uses git, I even took a training about git and how does it integrate with internal tools.
In my team they use mercurial.