Half-arsed   Leave a comment

Failstorm.

On Tuesday the 10th, my headphones didn’t turn up. Again. I was beginning to think they’d been lost in the post.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any bread, and getting some would’ve meant leaving the house and missing the postman, who would certainly turn up if I were out. Dilemma!

So I decided to have cheese and biscuits for lunch, and wound up with neither headphones nor bread. Harrumph!

Then work exploded.

Well, nothing quite so dramatic. In The Beginning, the holiday system only let people book whole days. Therefore, all the length temporary variables were integers. At some point early last year, the ability to book half days was added. At the end of last week, it was noticed that half day lengths weren’t being reported properly in a new feature. So I fixed that, and fixed the place where I’d copied the code from (one bit of software’s VB6 and the other’s VB.net, so you can’t share). The fix was simple; change an integer variable to a floating point one, in both cases.

On Tuesday, I thought I’d better check other places which do similar sums, just in case. Turns out, rather spectacularly, that they were all broken in the same way. I can’t really figure out how I managed to miss that in all cases. Utter lack of observation? Bad luck with test cases? Stupidity? I don’t know. Worse, and even more surprisingly, nobody had noticed (or, at least, told me) in the past nine-odd months they’d been using the holiday system.

So I fixed the bugs. One of the bits of software is an automatic emailer, which lets people know that holiday requests have been granted, what they’ve booked and how much they’ve got remaining. When testing that I’d fixed it, I noticed that it wasn’t working properly with half days in various other ways, either. It is the most awkward thing to test, but did I check anything beyond “yes, I received an email it sent me”? For crying out loud, it was a mess. What idiot wrote this rubbish?

Anyway, once everything had been fixed (hopefully), tested (hopefully) and updated (definitely, although at least one computer doesn’t seem to believe this), I had to build another emailer that would send anyone who’d booked a half-day holiday apologising and listing, accurately this time, their holiday bookings and remaining times.

So that was embarassing. But it did, at least, avoid my having to think of an excuse to not go to the gym.

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Posted 19 January 2012 by Colthor in Diary

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