Our development team was working on a content management system for a corporate client. It was a big system that administered units produced in a variety of languages and applications and, as a result, required careful user interface design and a lot of backend code.
We were doing a show and tell with our partially working system for a couple of corporate VPs to get their feedback on the design. We took a lunch break, and when we got back, the two VPs said they had something they wanted to show us.
They proudly presented a series of PowerPoint slides that showed where they wanted the buttons and pick lists placed.
Client: There, see? This is the arrangement that makes the most sense to us. Can you do this?
Client: You know, I really don’t understand why it takes your team so long to design these interfaces. We knocked this out in about an hour.
The entire team sat stunned until the senior programmer—a man of very few words—pointed to a button on the PowerPoint screen.
PROGRAMMER: What does this button do?
Client: Well, clearly it administers the training and testing selected by the user.
PROGRAMMER: If I click it right now, it will do that?
Client: Well … no. Actually, it doesn’t do anything yet.
PROGRAMMER: That’s why it only took you an hour.
EVERY FUCKING IDIOT CLIENT FOR EVER AND EVER IN THE WHOLE HISTORY OF THE IT BUSINESS.
Fuck these guys. I’ve spent the last ten years of my life trying to keep Google’s users safe and secure from the many diverse threats Google faces. I’ve seen armies of machines DOS-ing Google. I’ve seen worms DOS’ing Google to find vulnerabilities in other people’s software. I’ve seen criminal gangs figure out malware. I’ve seen spyware masquerading as toolbars so thick it breaks computers because it interferes with the other spyware. I’ve even seen oppressive governments use state-sponsored hacking to target dissidents … But after spending all that time helping in my tiny way to protect Google—one of the greatest things to arise from the internet—seeing this, well, it’s just a little like coming home from War with Sauron, destroying the One Ring, only to discover the NSA is on the front porch of the Shire chopping down the Party Tree and outsourcing all the hobbit farmers with half-orcs and whips.
when someone asks me a “quick favor” on friday night
And also when someone asks a sysadmin with anything office related.
So all in all the pieces are really starting to come together now and we expect to have some sessions during both GUADEC and Flock this year to try hammer out the remaining details. If you are interested in learning more or join the effort be sure to check the two conferences notice boards for time and place for the container sessions.
The best code is no code at all.