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Sometimes sanity isn’t the best route

, 4 Jul 2013
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One of the quickest ways to break something is to fix it when it ain’t broken.

I saw the following post on twitter earlier this week:

tweet

I have to admit that my first response was of course all the time. Then afterwards it got me thinking about those times that I broke this rule.

Don’t look at me or tell me that you have never patched bad code.

We all have worked somewhere where there was this one class, function or piece of code that we dreaded working on and when we did it was precision strike. You know the drill:

Get in, get out and leave no trace behind that says you were there.

I worked this one job where a large part of what our software did was track the status that certain types of documents could be in. There was myself and a few other programmers that were aware of the process and rules for how these documents changed status and we always hated when customers or program managers wanted to “tweak” those rules.

We often talked about rewriting all that code and in some projects we actually attempted to schedule time for its work. In reality though it was the largest plate of spaghetti most of us had ever seen and each time we opted against it. Usually our excuse for not doing was always the same:

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

If you google that phrase you will find hits all over the place about. So which famous engineer do we choose to associate this saying to? Amazingly this quote belongs to a business man by the name of Bert Lance who at the time was working for President Carter.

Please don’t take this to mean that I am supporting this type of thinking all the time. The whole idea of taking things that are “working” and changing them is a business model (disruptive technology) for so many of todays majorly successful companies.

Maybe for fun though I will tweet the following:

One of the quickest ways to break something is to fix it when it ain’t broken.

Later everyone and as usual happy coding!!!   =)

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The MIT License

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About the Author

Dennis E White
Software Developer
United States United States
I am software developer with over 20 years of professional experience. I have been employed as a software developer since the early 90′s back when Microsoft’s Windows 3.1x was gaining popularity and IBM’s OS/2 was the predominant leader in 32-bit PC based Operating Systems.
 
Prior to choosing this as my profession I had studied architecture and then later Electrical and Mechanical engineering in college. As a young kid growing up I always played with computers, my first computer was a TRS-80 that I would spend countless hours writing programs for, I never really thought of programming as a profession. The story goes that in my final year of college I took a C/C++ programming class and had so much fun working on the various projects that my professor told me something that changed everything.
 
“You know they pay people to do stuff like this for a living?” – Professor Bolman
 
Check out my blog here.
 
My current and ever evolving projects:
 
jqAlert javascript alerts done right for those using jQueryUI.
DooScrib Doodle and scribble pad written in javascript for use with HTML5 Canvas.
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