Tuesday, May 09, 2006

 

Sometimes You Just Have to Let Go

Last week was one of my most frustrating weeks of programming. At the last minute a serious bug was discovered in one of my pieces of code that built mailing labels. I tested the code in question extensively with Star Office on my Sun workstation but did only a few tests on Windows and Word. However, about half the time Word would crash because the output of was corrupted but it worked every time on Star Office. So I set out to fix the issue thinking it would be an easy fix and I was just an eureka moment from fixing it. I figure I had over a week before we went live to fix the problem so no big deal. However I spent all last week beating my head against the problem with no avail. So yesterday, one day before I went live I started over again, back to the drawing board so to speak. I was able to fix the problem with ease by using a completely different strategy.

I had two problems that caused this. First, was that I was holding on to the old way, since it always worked in the past. I held on to a false solution just way to long thinking I didn’t have time to try it a new way. The other problem with the first solution was that I was programming by coincidence, I didn’t fully understand what I was dealing with and it just happened to work before but only by luck. Lesson learned. But since I have read this and this, I should have known better.

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