DevExpress Newsletter 20: Message from the CTO

27 January 2010

Reprinting my Message from the CTO from the twentieth newsletter so that you may comment on my thoughts.

Assume your code will be public

Back when I was a younger programmer than I am now, I remember writing cute but honest comments in my code. Things like "This is a hack, I'll fix it later", "This is to satisfy that stupid request that XYZ should happen", "One day I'll speed this up, but at least it works". And some of my identifier names could be a little risqué. All very well, since, of course, I was going to be the only person reading my code.

Then it spread to my test data, making up charming first and last names, ridiculous addresses, lampooning famous people or just coworkers.

Of course, you can guess what happened next. Someone high up caught a glimpse and didn't think it was funny. Oops. Later on, when the code I wrote was actually made public (it happens in the control vendor market, don't you know) a customer looked at one of my comments and started arguing about the situation it mocked. Double oops.

So, if you take any advice from me in 2010 at least let it be this recommendation: write your code assuming that it will be public and scrutinized. Don't play funny games with it. Make sure your text -- be it error messages, test data, comments, whatever -- is squeaky clean. Don't end up on the Daily WTF with a red face.

A fun one this time, but with a serious underlying point.

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