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Why do these people succeed…

So last year, I took a software engineering class in school. Not that I wanted to — it was required for graduation. Anyways, like most people I highly dislike group projects. Especially programming projects. You’re almost guaranteed to get stuck with some stupidity, or maybe a slacker, or some other undesirable teammate. This is one such experience I had.

Now, this project was a Library Automation System. It was a web based system that would be used by a library and allowed administration of budgets and book lists, patrons to register and reserve books to check out, and publishers to advertise their books to librarians and make recalls. It was a pretty robust system. Theoretically the entire thing, being web-based, would be written using PHP/MySQL. However, since this project was being used as our “Senior Project” (I took this class as a junior to get it out of the way) it had to be written mostly in C++. As a result, the only solution we could think of was to use SOAP to communicate between the C++ and the PHP. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking bout, SOAP is an XML like protocol which is just the PHP making a request to a CGI SOAP server (compiled) which responds with objects that the PHP can translate for itself.

Now that I’ve got the specifics out of the way, I knew I was in trouble with the implementation of this thing when I got an email from one of the 4 members of the team that had the following: “They’re all .h files, I just change them to .cpp to compile them.” If you didn’t just face-palm, or whatever you do in the face of extreme stupidity then either you aren’t a programmer, or aren’t a C/C++ programmer. For you such people, thats like saying “Those are all my computer wires, I just plug them all in when I wanna use it and unplug them when I’m done.”

Its also fun when I find the normal include guards on top, (#ifndef, #define) but on the bottom I find “//#endif”. So somehow this compiled. So in the end we let this poor guy make his attempts to help, all the while basically rewriting all the code he sends us. Me and one other guy wrote about 75% of the code between us, not counting the code we rewrote. This guy was a senior, graduating that semester. In the end (when we finished our presentation on the stairs going to give it when I hadn’t slept for 2 days to finish the code) we got an A-. I was happy until the other guy who actually did work looked at me and said “but that means HE also got an A-“. That just ruined it. A year later, I wonder if he managed to get a job with his degree, or got to the interview and was laughed out of the office.

  1. Kitty
    January 8, 2009 at 12:14 am | #1

    Hun, you do realize that ALL of that makes NO SENSE to non-programmers? Really? Seriously? I guess your primary audience is…well, programmers, but like…really. I know a bit about computers but I am ttly lost here.

    (I love you though!)

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