The Real WTF is…

Posted on by Chris

If you’ve never read The Daily WTF, it’s a fantastic site run by Alex Papadimoulis highlighting the horrors that readers have found and submitted in real production code. Reading it is a heady blend of “oops, I used to do that” mixed with some absolutely abysmal stuff that you’d swear couldn’t possibly be real.

Just found this wonderful article from the early days of the site which reminded me of somewhere I used to work. Their flagship application was a software suite for estate agents which ran their in-house systems and websites. Most of the agents in my local area are using this system, and as a result their web directories are littered with such glorious filenames as:

index.php
index.php.bak
index_before_090606.php
index_beforeGJupdate.php
index_specialoffer.php
index_openhouseweekend.php
new_index.php
old_index.php
another_index.php

The only gesture toward source control was the local copies of the websites stored on a network share on the SBS 2003 box using Previous Versions. At one point three members of staff were working on entirely separate copies of the same site and wondering why their changes weren’t reflected in each other’s code, because the codebase had been transferred to a separate network share and one person was still working off the old copy while the others were working off the new and overwriting each other’s code.

I tried to implement source control but the idea never really caught on. For all I know they’re still hacking away at multiple copies of the same files. Of course, it’s easy to poke fun at bad practice without doing anything about it, but I think a more responsible way around it would be to demonstrate how to set up a development environment the right way, so stay tuned for a series of tutorials on getting your dev environment set up.

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