Recent CodeSOD

Code Snippet Of the Day (CodeSOD) features interesting and usually incorrect code snippets taken from actual production code in a commercial and/or open source software projects.

Apr 2017

Identifying the Globally Unique

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UUIDs, aka GUIDs are, well… unique. Unique identifiers. It’s right there in the name.

Active Directory needs to identify things. Thus, it uses GUIDs. “Omni’s” co-worker got this far, but then ran into a problem. If you print a GUID from AD, it looks like this: “35918bc9196d40ea9779889d79b753f0”, but if you print it from C#, it looks like this: “35918bc9–196d–40ea–9779–889d79b753f0”. Whatever is a programmer to do when dealing with these radically incompotible formats?


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Tony Hoare has called null references his “billion dollar mistake”. Dealing with nulls and their consequences have created a large number of bugs, and eaten a lot of developer time. It’s certainly bad enough when you understand nulls and why they exist, but Benjamin Soddy inherited code from someone who absolutely didn’t.

First, there’s our new type, the ByteBool:

The Wrong Sacrifice

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Folks, you need to choose a different sacrificial animal for your multithreading issues. Thanks to this comment Edward found in a stubborn bit of Java code, we now know the programming gods won't take our goats.


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Cédric runs the backend for a video streaming service. Since video streaming, even in modern HTML5, is still a bit of a mess, they have to be able to provide many different stream formats. So, for example, the JSON data might look like this:


A Piece of the Variable

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In the Star Trek episode, “A Piece of the Action”, Kirk and his crew travel to Sigma Iotia II, a planet last visited before the Prime Directive of non-interference existed. Well, they left behind a book, Chicago Mobs of the Twenties, which the Iotians took as a holy guide, to be imitated and followed even if they didn’t quite understand it, a sort of sci-fi cargo-cult. Cue the crew of the Enterprise being threatened with Tommy Guns and guys doing bad Al Capone impressions.

Michael’s co-worker may have fallen into a similar trap. An advanced developer came to him, and gave him a rule: in PHP, since variables may be used without being declared, it’s entirely possible to have an unset variable. Thus, it’s a good practice to check and see if the variable is set before you use it. Normally, we use this to check if, for example, the submitted form contains certain fields.

An Extinction Event

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Microsoft’s C# has become an extremely popular language for “enterprise” development, and it’s sobering to think that: yes, this language has been around for 15 years at this point. That’s long enough for the language to have grown from a “sort of Java with reliability, productivity and security deleted.” (James Gosling, one of the creators of Java) to “sort of Java, but with generics and lambdas actually implemented in a useful way, and not completely broken by design”.

15 years is also more than enough time for a project to grow out of control, turning into a sprawling mass of tentacles with mouths on the ends, thrashing about looking for a programmer’s brain to absorb. Viginia N is currently locked in a struggle for sanity against one such project.