Seven words: day 5: the war of the ping
(What is the game of 'seven words'? See this entry for explanations, or to contribute potential words.)
They resist sticks, stones, brandished bones, and - in the earliest of hours when no one is looking - abject pleading and begging. They, the disenchanted teenage brood, resent that it was I - silly, bumbling fool, I - who brought them into existence, and blame me for all their problems.They hurl insults when angered. Technical terms are spat like curse words through the browser, because they know I feel the sting.
It has been seven days since the Battle For Manage-Pings began in northeast Alabama, and I must report that the carnage has been intense. Burned dinners. Insomnia. Ignored cats. Friends who resort to emails in the hopes of actually making contact with my brain.
Tales abound of the sadness and fruitlessness of the Civil War, where skirmish became full-scale bloodshed over pastoral bits of innocence such as a cunningly-positioned copse of trees. Battles for nothing but slightly higher ground, better shade, or the commanding officer's whim. No better can be said of this weeklong rejoinder against fewer than twenty lines of code.
Twenty lines, when averaged mathematically, might indicate the creation of two lines of code per day.
War, presented as a succession of averages, consists of nothing but arcs and arrows indicating the direction of marches, with the implication of inevitability. They signify nothing of the battles that were fought in between, the daily, tiny advances and retreats that, from a distance, blur into arc and curve.
Code battles, presented as averages, tell nothing at all. A total of two lines added at the end of the day says nothing of that day's battle: fifty lines written, tested, ripped out, rewritten, retested, and ripped out once again, only to be replaced by the original code that was there in the first place. Nor does it acknowledge that this battle was fought on a daily basis until, at last, the twenty lines of code were reduced to six perfectly-working ones.
For all the time spent writing, rewriting, crash-testing, and generally attempting to batter the code to indistinguishable bits, they should be flashier.
Tomorrow, perhaps, I will plant the marker in the ground, just north of the six lines, to signify how hard-won the battle was for this particular function. Perhaps I should spring for another long-winded, self-effacing comment along the lines of this one, buried deep in Quarto:
Now, I realize that nobody but me is probably ever going to read this. Let me just say this. I AM AN IDIOT. Hello? What happens if the current user wants to change his/her own username? Doesn't it stand to reason, you silly wanna-be coder, that if the current username changes, that we should change the cookie and session info for the current user?
My God, I've been working on this crazy set of scripts for a year and I JUST NOW REALIZED THIS when my spouse did a test install and bombed out in this very situation.
I expect my coding license (which I barely got in the first place) to be revoked as soon as anyone else hears about this. At least Heather got a good laugh when I told her…
Or perhaps I will choose the more epigrammatic humor that hides in the comments of the manage-entries page:
# Set us up the querybomb.
# I cannot believe I just typed that.
# I am so lame.
This morning's completion of this particular section of code surprised me; in my concentration to fight my way through this particular issue, I had failed to plan the next battle.
Given a day or two, I will rejoin the code battle (already in progress). My brain needs some good, unbroken sleep to rest up after this battle; so much blood and toil for XML-RPC pings to play exactly as I wanted them to. The cats have requested apologies in the form of nearly-continuous petting, and the spouse would probably prefer that the next dinner I make not be burned prior to serving.
I read through this now and suspect that code battles aren't won; they're just…survived.
* * * * *
In better news, the new version of wondergeeks is live now, and is running the portal script that I'm currently working on. The script is still most definitely still in beta, but the next beta should contain far more robust server-side code, and for the love of all things holy I have got to shut up and get a life, or otherwise no one but my cats will ever speak to me again…
Right, then. Off for a cup of rosehip/hibiscus tea, cat-cuddling, and perhaps an episode or two of Sex In The City. Back when I'm a wee bit more interesting —
Today's word was bellicose (warlike in manner or temperament), suggested by Will and chosen by Matthew. Check in again soon for word #6.