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Re: Greatest programming mistakes and what to learn from

by tilly (Archbishop)
on Dec 23, 2004 at 03:17 UTC ( #416989=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Greatest programming mistakes and what to learn from

My greatest error was having my first programming job be an Access developer on Windows, and what I learned from it was to be a Perl and Linux zealot. :-)

Seriously, the single worst mistake that I made was to edit a production script so that it passed an accidental undef (rather than an argument) to a program (which I didn't write) that interpreted the lack of an argument as "send everything" rather than "bad data". The result was that I proceeded to attempt to send to Bloomberg's ftp site every file that they had been sent in several years - and I said attempt because the ftp server did not prove to have enough disk space to load all of these files.

As for what I learned, well, I learned a lot about the value of prompt apologies, having programs validate your assumptions, (later) to appreciate the typo checking from, not to permanently leave stale garbage in a production directory, and several other lessons.

Unfortunately the developer who wrote the code that I was maintaining learned none of those lessons from the incident since he'd left the company and was not around to benefit from the experience. :-(

Comment on Re: Greatest programming mistakes and what to learn from
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Re^2: Greatest programming mistakes and what to learn from
by Sifmole (Chaplain) on Jan 05, 2005 at 15:10 UTC
    Hey Tilly,

    So what year about did you make this mistake? I ask because I used to work at ol' Bloomberg and wrote some code that supported things like that, as well as much of the code for their first three websites. That was where I learned Perl.

      It would have been somewhere in the winter of 1998-1999. My employer was Trepp.
        Ah -- That would have been about 2 years after I left. Sorry to bother.

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