In my first week as S.A.D. (Supervisor, Applications Development) at TCTSRN, I started looking through some code. Lots of it. It wasn’t hard to find. They didn’t even use any version control, just some rudimentary archiving features of Sharepoint, which sucks at version control.

I started worming my way through the various portals they had set up. All the projects had cryptic names, and they were setup willy-nilly in folders called “Code” and “Specs” and “Docs”. Script files, batch jobs, stored procedures, even Unix Korn scripts (shit - are they running Unix?…That would suck.). I grabbed a handful of stored procedures that Sharepoint said were owned by people on my team and dumped them to the printer.

10 minutes later, they were still getting printed. I killed the print job and took a look at the files. They were massive. Thousands of lines of code in each proc. On and on they went…cursers…temp tables…a few hundred lines of commented-out code…more cursers…some case statements…more lines of commented-out code. Aliases. Eight table inner joins. Crappy naming conventions. Breadcrumbs left by other developers (“Bob – put your code here”).

I was wading through the alimentary canal of TCTSRN. This is where all the shit came from. All the extracts, downloads, uploads, everything. All of it living in hundreds of 5,000 line files. Procedural. Hacked. Undocumented. I felt like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now, going through the dossier of Colonel Kurtz. Bewildered. Floating up the river on a secret mission to Cambodia.

Speaking of Cambodia, I called TAC into my cube. I pulled out some stored procs with his name in the comments.

“I am trying to sort out this code. Can I get a report on all the production jobs that you guys have running?” I asked.

“Well, id iz so many. Dad wud dake long dime.”

I parsed his response. Hardly fluent English. “OK, I don’t need all the stored procs documented. If you just get me the batch files that call the procs, I’ll track them down.”

He nodded and left.

They must have some idea of what code is actually running, I reasoned. What if there is a disaster and they have to restore their environment? How do they even keep track of who did what? The answer to the former is “they are fucked” and the latter is “they don’t”.

But I was S.A.D. – it was my job to get a handle on the code, improve the process, understand the systems, and be the go-to guy about all things app-dev related at TCTSRN. That’s why I took the $15k/yr pay cut – for the challenge and responsibility.

Or maybe because it was the first offer on the table after getting fired from TJIHFOW(The Job I Had For One Week).


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