2191
votes
1answer
306k views

What technical details should a programmer of a web application consider before making the site public?

What things should a programmer implementing the technical details of a web application consider before making the site public? If Jeff Atwood can forget about HttpOnly cookies, sitemaps, and ...
554
votes
9answers
168k views

Which hashing algorithm is best for uniqueness and speed?

Which hashing algorithm is best for uniqueness and speed? Example (good) uses include hash dictionaries. I know there are things like SHA-256 and such, but these algorithms are designed to be ...
537
votes
32answers
105k views

My boss decided to add a “person to blame” field to every bug report. How can I convince him that it's a bad idea?

In one of the latest "WTF" moves, my boss decided that adding a "Person To Blame" field to our bug tracking template will increase accountability (although we already have a way of tying bugs to ...
516
votes
21answers
45k views

Where did the notion of “one return only” come from?

I often talk to Java programmers who say "Don't put multiple return statements in the same method." When I ask them to tell me the reasons why, all I get is "The coding standard says so." or "It's ...
429
votes
2answers
55k views

Is the use of “utf8=✓” preferable to “utf8=true”?

I have recently seen a few URIs containing the query parameter "utf8=✓". My first impression (after thinking "mmm, looks cool") was that this could be used to detect a broken character encoding. So, ...
424
votes
3answers
153k views

What is the Mars Curiosity Rover's software built in?

The Mars Curiosity rover has landed successfully, and one of the promo videos "7 minutes of terror" brags about there being 500,000 lines of code. It's a complicated problem, no doubt. But that is a ...
390
votes
22answers
56k views

Should UTF-16 be considered harmful?

I'm going to ask what is probably quite a controversial question: "Should one of the most popular encodings, UTF-16, be considered harmful?" Why do I ask this question? How many programmers are ...
358
votes
23answers
17k views

Overcoming slow problem solving due to increased knowledge of what might go wrong

This has been troubling me for some time, and I'd really appreciate the input of other professionals. Short background: I started programming when my parents bought me my first computer in 1988 (at ...
347
votes
21answers
85k views

My customer wants me to record a video of how I develop his software product

Working as a freelancer, I often see strange requests from my customers, some of which can negatively affect my daily work¹, and others trying to set some sort of control. I usually encounter those ...
344
votes
12answers
11k views

Should I intentionally break the build when a bug is found in production?

It seems reasonable to me that if a serious bug is found in production by end-users, a failing unit test should be added to cover that bug, thus intentionally breaking the build until the bug is ...
343
votes
33answers
129k views

How do I create my own programming language and a compiler for it [closed]

I am thorough with programming and have come across languages including BASIC, FORTRAN, COBOL, LISP, LOGO, Java, C++, C, MATLAB, Mathematica, Python, Ruby, Perl, JavaScript, Assembly and so on. I ...
312
votes
29answers
49k views

Why can't the IT industry deliver large, faultless projects quickly as in other industries?

After watching National Geographic's MegaStructures series, I was surprised how fast large projects are completed. Once the preliminary work (design, specifications, etc.) is done on paper, the ...
279
votes
6answers
14k views

What is negative code?

I was reading the Wikipedia article on Douglas McIlroy and found a quote that mentions "The real hero of programming is the one who writes negative code." What does that mean?
269
votes
20answers
63k views

How should I behave as a developer in a project that's headed for failure?

I am a developer in a 5-member team and I believe our project is headed for disaster. I'll describe why in a moment, but my question is: how should I behave? The deadline is in 1.5 months, and I ...
261
votes
34answers
15k views

How do you tell if advice from a senior developer is bad?

Recently, I started my first job as a junior developer and I have a more senior developer in charge of mentoring me in this small company. However, there are several times when he would give me advice ...
260
votes
9answers
60k views

Why is 80 characters the 'standard' limit for code width?

Why is 80 characters the "standard" limit for code width? Why 80 and not 79, 81 or 100? What is the origin of this particular value?
259
votes
39answers
198k views

Why isn't Java used for modern web application development? [closed]

As a professional Java programmer, I've been trying to understand - why the hate toward Java for modern web applications? I've noticed a trend that out of modern day web startups, a relatively small ...
256
votes
4answers
96k views

What software programming languages were used by the Soviet Union's space program?

I got interested in the Soviet space program and was interested to discover that the software on the Buran spacecraft circa 1988 was written in Prolog. Does anyone know what languages might have ...
251
votes
33answers
15k views

How can I deal with the cargo-cult programming attitude?

I have some computer science students in a compulsory introductory programming course who see a programming language as a set of magic spells, which must be cast in order to achieve some effect ...
250
votes
11answers
23k views

I'm a Subversion geek, why should I consider or not consider Mercurial or Git or any other DVCS?

I try to understand the benefits of distributed version control system (DVCS). I found Subversion Re-education and this article by Martin Fowler very useful. Mercurial and others DVCS promote a ...
243
votes
20answers
72k views

What does SVN do better than Git? [closed]

No question that the majority of debates over programmer tools distill to either personal choice (by the user) or design emphasis, that is, optimizing design according to particular uses cases (by the ...
229
votes
13answers
59k views

So Singletons are bad, then what?

There has been a lot of discussion lately about the problems with using (and overusing) Singletons. I've been one of those people earlier in my career too. I can see what the problem is now, and yet, ...
211
votes
15answers
22k views

How can a code editor effectively hint at code nesting level - without using indentation?

I've written an XML text editor that provides 2 view options for the same XML text, one indented (virtually), the other left-justified. The motivation for the left-justified view is to help users ...
207
votes
25answers
19k views

How do you know you're writing good code? [duplicate]

Serious question here. I love programming. I've been messing around with code since I was a kid. I never went the professional route, but I have coded several in-house apps for various employers, ...
197
votes
29answers
16k views

What's the canonical retort to “it's open source, submit a patch”? [closed]

The danger of ever suggesting some feature on a product, especially open source, is that you'll get the response, "why don't you do it?". That's valid, and it's cool that you can make the change ...
195
votes
15answers
48k views

Why was Tanenbaum wrong in the Tanenbaum-Torvalds debates?

I was recently assigned reading from the Tanenbaum-Torvalds debates in my OS class. In the debates, Tanenbaum makes some predictions: Microkernels are the future x86 will die out and RISC ...
193
votes
23answers
32k views

Should you keep a copy of all the code you write?

I know the company you work for owns the code and obviously you will get arrested if you try to sell it. But is it uncommon for developers to keep a personal copy of the code they wrote (for future ...
190
votes
64answers
117k views

Why do programmers write closed source applications and then make them free? [closed]

As an entrepreneur/programmer who makes a good living from writing and selling software, I'm dumbfounded as to why developers write applications and then put them up on the Internet for free. You've ...
185
votes
16answers
13k views

Started wrong with a project. Should I start over?

I'm a beginner web developer (one year of experience). A couple of weeks after graduating, I got offered a job to build a web application for a company whose owner is not much of a tech guy. He ...
181
votes
13answers
38k views

How to respond when you are asked for an estimate?

We, as programmers, are constantly being asked 'How long will it take'? And you know, the situation is almost always like this: The requirements are unclear. Nobody has done an in depth analysis of ...
168
votes
9answers
47k views

Where can I find programming puzzles and challenges? [closed]

I'm trying to find places where I can hone my craft outside the context of school or work. Are there places online, or books available, where I can access lists of programming puzzles or challenges?
166
votes
11answers
86k views

When to use C over C++, and C++ over C?

I've been introduced to Computer Science for a little over a year now, and from my experience it seems that C and C++ are both considered to be "ultrafast" languages, whereas others such as Python and ...
161
votes
26answers
18k views

How to apologize when you have broken the nightly build

My first commit in my project resulted in the nightly build being broken and people are all over me as we are nearing the release. I want to send an apology email that should sound sincere and at the ...
160
votes
23answers
14k views

How can I deal with a team member who dislikes making comments in code?

One of my team members consistently avoids making comments in his code. His code is not self-documenting, and other programmers have a difficult time understanding his code. I have asked him ...
156
votes
18answers
59k views

How can one manage thousands of IF…THEN…ELSE rules?

I am considering building an application, which, at its core, would consist of thousands of if...then...else statements. The purpose of the application is to be able to predict how cows move around in ...
151
votes
17answers
12k views

Is there a benefit in compiling your code as you go along?

I recently had a job interview in which they gave me an hour to write some real code. It wasn't a huge amount, probably less than 100 lines. After about 45 minutes, I compiled, ran it, and got it to ...
151
votes
25answers
13k views

How to convince my boss that quality is a good thing to have in code? [duplicate]

My boss came to me today to ask me if we could implement a certain feature in 1.5 days. I had a look at it and told him that 2 to 3 days would be more realistic. He then asked me: "And what if we do ...
149
votes
14answers
9k views

How do you balance between “do it right” and “do it ASAP” in your daily work?

I find myself pondering over this question from time to time, again and again. I want to do things the right way: to write clean, understandable and correct code that is easy to maintain. However, ...
148
votes
16answers
11k views

Why does automated testing keep failing in my company?

We have tried to introduce developer automated testing several times at my company. Our QA team uses Selenium to automate UI tests, but I always wanted to introduce unit tests and integration tests. ...
147
votes
11answers
41k views

How can I find a good open source project to join? [closed]

I just started working a year ago, and I want to join an open source project for the same reasons as anyone else: help create something useful and develop my skills further. My problem is, I don't ...
145
votes
9answers
17k views

Has “Not everyone can be a programmer” been studied?

An old adage that many programmers stick to is "It takes a certain type of mind to learn programming, and not everyone can do it." Now I'm sure that we all have our own trove of anecdotal evidence, ...
143
votes
10answers
15k views

Mono is frequently used to say “Yes, .NET is cross-platform”. How valid is that claim? [closed]

In What would you choose for your project between .NET and Java at this point in time? I say that I would consider the "Will you always deploy to Windows?" the single most important (EDIT: technical) ...
143
votes
18answers
11k views

How do I review my own code?

I'm working on a project solo and have to maintain my own code. Usually code review is done not by the code author, so the reviewer can look at the code with the fresh eyes — however, I don't have ...
142
votes
29answers
9k views

Offshoring: does it ever work?

I know there has been a fair amount of discussion on here about outsourcing/offshoring, and the general opinion seems to be that at best it is difficult, and at worst it fails. I have direct ...
138
votes
31answers
19k views

How do you dive into large code bases?

What tools and techniques do you use for exploring and learning an unknown code base? I am thinking of tools like grep, ctags, unit-tests, functional test, class-diagram generators, call graphs, ...
138
votes
13answers
8k views

If my team has low skill, should I lower the skill of my code?

For example, there is a common snippet in JS to get a default value: function f(x) { x = x || 'default_value'; } This kind of snippet is not easily understood by all the members of my team, ...
137
votes
10answers
12k views

Is my work on a developer test being taken advantage of?

I am looking for a job and have applied to a number of positions. One of them responded, I had a pretty lengthy phone interview (perhaps an hour +) and they then set me up with a developer test. I was ...
136
votes
6answers
41k views

Why do dynamic languages make it more difficult to maintain large codebases? [duplicate]

Large codebases are more difficult to maintain when they are written in dynamic languages. At least that's what Yevgeniy Brikman, lead developer bringing the Play Framework to LinkedIn says in a video ...
134
votes
5answers
2k views

Programmer, not a blogger [closed]

I need advice from people who might understand where I'm coming from. I'm the lead engineer on a software product. The company I'm working for recently expressed serious interest in having me blog ...
133
votes
11answers
11k views

How do operating systems… run… without having an OS to run in?

I'm really curious right now. I'm a Python programmer, and this question just boggled me: You write an OS. How do you run it? It has to be run somehow, and that way is within another OS? How can an ...

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