SXSW 2012: Shit Code: When Good Code Is Betrayed

Rob Tarr
Sparkbox, Software Engineer

Scott Lenger
Beaconfire Consulting, Functional Analyst


Presentation Description

We’ve all been there. You work meticulously to craft lean, efficient, elegant code. Beaming proudly, you hand your little sweetie off to a client, a contractor, a colleague, or even a CMS, but the next time you check in, everything has gone to hell. Or worse – you’re on the receiving end of a long line of shitty code, trying to make sense of deprecated tags, naming collisions, arbitrary plugins, and other code soup.

So what happened? Where did all this cruft come from? And short of hunting down the abusers and beating them with Eric Meyer’s 2lb “CSS: The Definitive Guide”, what can you really do about it?

In this brutally honest session, front-end & back-end coders will unite with project managers to play the role of shrink, surveyor, and sensai. Using real-life examples, we will break down how bad code happens to good people, why it matters, and specific steps you can take to prevent it. Come learn why it’s important to code like the next person to use it is a homicidal maniac who knows where you live.

Presentation Notes

How does this happen?

  • Different standards or conventions
  • Spanning multiple CMS’s/CRM’s
  • Competing libraries
  • Plugins
  • Failure to separate design/data/behavior/content
  • Laziness

Why it matters?

  • Self-satisfaction
  • Delivery
  • Maintenance

What to do about it?

  • Flag Issues in Process
  • Collaborate Across Disciplines
  • Build Rapport
  • Know When to Compromise, and make sure to check yourself

“Most of the evil done in the world is done by people who think they are doing the right thing.” – Richard Beck

There are many failure points when coding between teams: HTML, CSS, front ends, back ends, etc.

External Links

Posted in SXSW 2012.

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