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I have had a few that I am proud of and some of them were written by myself few years ago. It doesn't have to be necessarily buggy, just bad code.

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closed as not constructive by Anna Lear Sep 16 '11 at 23:24

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6  
Too many to post, can I just forward you my SVN history? ;) –  NickC Nov 23 '10 at 18:05
1  
You are aware of thedailywtf.com ? –  user1249 Dec 5 '10 at 16:46

8 Answers 8

up vote 15 down vote accepted

I don't know about being proud of the fix because it was so obvious, but the most horrible code I remember fixing was this.

if (userName=="John O'Reily") { Username = "John O''Reily";}
if (userName=="Stacy O'Neil") { UserName = "Stacy O''Neil";}
if (userName=="Finnegan O'Connor") { Username = "Finnegan O''Connor";}
...
someSQL = "SELECT * from Users where UserName='" + userName + "'";

Apparently the previous developer just kept adding new lines every time a new (usually Irish) user started getting errors in the application.

I'll leave it as an exercise for the class as to how it was fixed.

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I take SQL concatenates two adjacent string literals, does it? –  Amarghosh Sep 13 '10 at 9:05
1  
@Amarghosh: Huh? –  JohnFx Sep 13 '10 at 18:18
2  
@Amarghosh: it's an escape. Double single-quotes reduce to a single single-quote inside a string literal. –  Mason Wheeler Sep 13 '10 at 22:55
    
Thanks @Mason I thought UserName='John O''Reily' will become UserName='John OReily' (like how C concatenates adjacent string literals), but didn't think about the missing ' :( –  Amarghosh Sep 14 '10 at 11:32
    
At least the original is self-documenting ... –  Job Dec 5 '10 at 15:22

I shouldn't really be proud of this, but for some reason, it was satisfying.

Other than having COBOL in school, I had no experience, but I was low man on the totem pole, and we needed to provide compiling source code to an outsourcer for Y2K checking. We had a single COBOL file with multiple routines that called each other in the file, spaghetti-like, and it was too large to load in our current IDE for compiling. It needed to be pulled apart into at least two physical files, and those files of course, needed to have everything they needed in their own file. (Or perhaps, there was a way to link them together, but I didn't really know COBOL.)

Anyway, I took this about 100,000 line file, and gently pulled apart the dozens and dozens of routines to find two sets of routines that were independant of each other, and could therefore exist in two separate files, each about 50,000 or so lines. (I think the max the compiler could handle was about 80,000 lines, so it did need to be fairly evenly matched.)

I was reading an ancient language that I didn't know, and was still successful in the task.

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3  
So you were dissecting a fossil written in a dinosaur. Or performing rock surgery. Or...my analogy fell apart. Help! –  Jon Purdy Sep 16 '10 at 1:08
2  
One up for the readability of COBOL! –  user1249 Nov 23 '10 at 18:19
    
What was the IDE that had a line limit? –  Rook Dec 5 '10 at 12:57
    
We are a Cobol shop and there is a hard limit with one of the tools (compiler or editor, not sure) with 65535 lines. Might be something similar. –  user1249 Dec 5 '10 at 17:49

I took a cursor out of a trigger and reduced the time to insert 40,000 new records from an hour to less than a minute. Eventually this resulted in me being able to insert 21 million records in something less than glacial time but we never tried the 20 million record import til after the fix, so I don't have stats on how much time we saved.

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1  
And of course someone in marketing claimed credit for speeding it up? :-) –  the Tin Man Dec 5 '10 at 7:47

There was a base class for creating confirmation dialogs for different operations on tree nodes. You would need only to provide a message to be displayed in the dialog and the action to run if it was confirmed. Nice system but it allowed no special handling in case there was no tree node selected. As a result, the text in one of the dialogs said: "Please select no". If you selected yes, it threw an exception. Very nice user experience, indeed.

I fixed this by disabling the invalid operations.

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1  
Should have selected 'no' then! –  Alan Pearce Nov 4 '10 at 15:23
if(city == "Mumbai" || city == "Delhi" || city == "Kolkata || city == "Chennai" || city == "Bangalore" || city == "Pune") {
  // ...
} 

I changed it to:

if(List("Mumbai", "Delhi", "Kolkata", "Chennai", "Bangalore", "Pune") contains city) {
  // ...
}

[ Language: Scala ]

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4  
Original code was more efficient ;) –  NickC Nov 23 '10 at 18:04
1  
Here in functional land, elegance matters more than performance ;) –  missingfaktor Nov 23 '10 at 18:04
3  
Is that the WORST? –  user1249 Nov 23 '10 at 18:20
    
@Thorbjørn: Nope. but can't think of anything else atm. –  missingfaktor Nov 23 '10 at 18:21

The worst I've seen was some Java code to extract key sentences from a text corpus.

  • The code had few comments (besides disabled code comments) and had poor names.
  • The algorithm state was stored in public static vectors.
  • Instead of storing values in the vectors, he stored their string representations.
  • The vectors were poor man's classes (they were parallel, each index being an 'instance')
  • The algorithm was sub-optimal (n^2 instead of an easier to understand n log n version)

To be fair, this is nothing compared to some of the stuff our there, but there is still a massive difference in quality before and after. Consider the following actual before and after code of one function:

Before (try to figure out what it does before looking at After!):

public static void getCluster() {
    count = new Vector();
    for (int i = 0; i < begin.size(); i ++)
        count.add("1");
    if (begin.size() > 1) {
        for (int i = 0; i < begin.size() - 1; i ++) {
            for (int j = i + 1; j < begin.size(); j ++) {
                int b1 = Integer.parseInt(begin.get(i).toString());
                int e1 = Integer.parseInt(end.get(i).toString());
                double w1 = Double.parseDouble(wght.get(i).toString());
                int c1 = Integer.parseInt(count.get(i).toString());
                int b2 = Integer.parseInt(begin.get(j).toString());
                int e2 = Integer.parseInt(end.get(j).toString());
                double w2 = Double.parseDouble(wght.get(j).toString());
                int c2 = Integer.parseInt(count.get(j).toString());
                int max = Math.max(e1, e2);
                boolean toRemove = true;
                if (b1 == b2) end.set(i, Integer.toString(max));
                if (b1 < b2) {
                    if (b2 < e1) end.set(i, Integer.toString(max));
                    else {
                        if ((b2 - e1) <= 3) end.set(i, Integer.toString(e2));
                        else toRemove = false;
                    }
                }
                if (b1 > b2) {
                    if (e2 >= b1) {
                        begin.set(i, Integer.toString(b2));
                        end.set(i, Integer.toString(max));
                    } else {
                        if ((b1 - e2) <= 3) {
                            begin.set(i, Integer.toString(b2));
                            end.set(i, Integer.toString(e1));
                        } else toRemove = false;
                    }
                }
                //System.out.println(b1 + ", " + e1 + ", " + b2 + ", " + e2 + " ---> " + begin.get(i).toString() + ", " + end.get(i).toString());
                if (toRemove) {
                    wght.set(i, Double.toString(w1 + w2));
                    count.set(i, Integer.toString(c1 + c2));
                    begin.removeElementAt(j);
                    end.removeElementAt(j);
                    wght.removeElementAt(j);
                    count.removeElementAt(j);
                    j --;
                } //end of if
            } //end of for j
        } //end of for i
    } //end of if
    //System.out.println(begin);
    //System.out.println(end);
    //System.out.println(wght);
    //System.out.println(count);
}

After:

/** Returns the result of merging all overlapping-with-leeway clusters into single combined clusters.
 * @param leeway The minimum number of word-spaces which must separate two clusters in order for them to not be overlapping.
 * @requires clusters != null
 * @requires leeway >= 0
 * @ensures result != null */ 
private static List<TermCluster> combineOverlappingClusters(Iterable<TermCluster> clusters, int leeway) {
    if (clusters == null) throw new NullPointerException("clusters");
    if (leeway < 0) throw new IllegalArgumentException("leeway < 0");

    //Sort to allow linear folding
    List<TermCluster> sortedClusters = Iter.sort(clusters, new Comparator<TermCluster>() {
        @Override public int compare(TermCluster o1, TermCluster o2) {
            return new Integer(o1.begin).compareTo(o2.begin);
        }
    });
    if (sortedClusters.size() == 0)
        return sortedClusters;

    //Combine left-to-right
    List<TermCluster> result = new ArrayList<TermCluster>();
    TermCluster acc = sortedClusters.get(0);
    for (TermCluster cluster : sortedClusters.subList(1, sortedClusters.size())) {
        if (acc.isOverlappingWithLeeway(cluster, leeway)) {
            //combine
            acc = acc.combineWith(cluster);
        } else {
            //next
            result.add(acc);
            acc = cluster;
        }            
    }
    result.add(acc); //leftovers

    return result;
}
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My first programming job was writing installers in InstallShield. I inherited a script that was thousands lines with no functions, only gotos. It was mind boggling. I rewrote it, made it all pretty and modular and data driven, so that I could be given binaries/art/etc. and turn out a new installer in under an hour, rather than the week+ it took the previous guy. I was very proud of myself.

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I think nothing even comes close to this:

function pmn_Sort(strBy)

local tblA = {};
local tblB = {};
local tblC = {};
local tblD = {};
local tblE = {};
local tblF = {};
local tblG = {};
local tblH = {};
local tblI = {};
local tblJ = {};
local tblK = {};
local tblL = {};
local tblM = {};
local tblN = {};
local tblO = {};
local tblP = {};
local tblQ = {};
local tblR = {};
local tblS = {};
local tblT = {};
local tblU = {};
local tblV = {};
local tblW = {};
local tblX = {};
local tblY = {};
local tblZ = {};
local tblOT = {};

local iA = 0;
local iB = 0;
local iC = 0;
local iD = 0;
local iE = 0;
local iF = 0;
local iG = 0;
local iH = 0;
local iI = 0;
local iJ = 0;
local iK = 0;
local iL = 0;
local iM = 0;
local iN = 0;
local iO = 0;
local iP = 0;
local iQ = 0;
local iR = 0;
local iS = 0;
local iT = 0;
local iU = 0;
local iV = 0;
local iW = 0;
local iX = 0;
local iY = 0;
local iZ = 0;
local iOT = 0;

    if strBy == "Name" then

        strSort = "Name";
        numPlcount = ListBox.GetCount("Playlist");
        numPLitem = 1;
        numPLadd = 0;
        while numPLitem &lt;= numPlcount do

            strPLtxt = ListBox.GetItemText("Playlist", numPLitem);
            strPLdata = ListBox.GetItemData("Playlist", numPLitem);
            strPLleft = String.Left(strPLtxt, 1);
            if strPLleft == "a" or strPLleft == "A" then

            iA = iA + 1;
            tblA[iA] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "b" or strPLleft == "B" then

            iB = iB + 1;
            tblB[iB] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "c" or strPLleft == "C" then

            iC = iC + 1;
            tblC[iC] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "d" or strPLleft == "D" then

            iD = iD + 1;
            tblD[iD] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "e" or strPLleft == "E" then

            iE = iE + 1;
            tblE[iE] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "f" or strPLleft == "F" then

            iF = iF + 1;
            tblF[iF] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "g" or strPLleft == "G" then

            iG = iG + 1;
            tblG[iG] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "h" or strPLleft == "H" then

            iH = iH + 1;
            tblH[iH] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "i" or strPLleft == "I" then

            iI = iI + 1;
            tblI[iI] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "j" or strPLleft == "J" then

            iJ = iJ + 1;
            tblJ[iJ] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "k" or strPLleft == "K" then

            iK = iK + 1;
            tblK[iK] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "l" or strPLleft == "L" then

            iL = iL + 1;
            tblL[iL] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "m" or strPLleft == "M" then

            iM = iM + 1;
            tblM[iM] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "n" or strPLleft == "N" then

            iN = iN + 1;
            tblN[iN] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "o" or strPLleft == "O" then

            iO = iO + 1;
            tblO[iO] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "p" or strPLleft == "P" then

            iP = iP + 1;
            tblP[iP] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "q" or strPLleft == "Q" then

            iQ = iQ + 1;
            tblQ[iQ] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "r" or strPLleft == "R" then

            iR = iR + 1;
            tblR[iR] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "s" or strPLleft == "S" then

            iS = iS + 1;
            tblS[iS] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "t" or strPLleft == "T" then

            iT = iT + 1;
            tblT[iT] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "u" or strPLleft == "U" then

            iU = iU + 1;
            tblU[iU] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "v" or strPLleft == "V" then

            iV = iV + 1;
            tblV[iV] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "w" or strPLleft == "W" then

            iW = iW + 1;
            tblW[iW] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "x" or strPLleft == "X" then

            iX = iX + 1;
            tblX[iX] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "y" or strPLleft == "Y" then

            iY = iY + 1;
            tblY[iY] = strPLdata;

            elseif strPLleft == "z" or strPLleft == "Z" then

            iZ = iZ + 1;
            tblZ[iZ] = strPLdata;

            else

            iOT = iOT + 1;
            tblOT[iOT] = strPLdata;

            end

            numPLitem = numPLitem + 1;

        end

        ListBox.DeleteItem("Playlist", LB_ALLITEMS);

        for ii, id in tblA do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblB do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblC do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblD do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblE do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblF do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblG do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblH do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblI do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblJ do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblK do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblL do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblM do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblN do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblO do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblP do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblQ do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblR do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblS do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblT do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblU do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblV do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblW do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblX do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblY do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end     

        for ii, id in tblZ do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

        for ii, id in tblOT do

            if id ~= "" then

                numPLadd = numPLadd + 1;
                strPLtxt = String.SplitPath(id).Filename..String.SplitPath(id).Extension
                ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", strPLtxt, id);

            end

        end

    elseif strBy == "Type" then

        strSort = "Type";

        if File.DoesExist(_ProgramFilesFolder.."\\MediaX\\playlist.mx") == true then

            play_file2 = TextFile.ReadToTable(_ProgramFilesFolder.."\\MediaX\\playlist.mx");

            if play_file2 then
                ListBox.DeleteItem("Playlist", -1);

                for rl,rPath in play_file2 do
                    r2Path = String.TrimLeft(rPath, nil);
                    ListBox.AddItem("Playlist", String.SplitPath(r2Path).Filename..String.SplitPath(r2Path).Extension, r2Path);
                end
            end
        end
    end
end

The fix? Eh, that shouldn't require much explanation.

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