I really hate dealing with people that don’t know what they want. I was contacted last night and had a conversation something like this:
Dude: [Company A] wants to know if we can send them the web interface. [Where “we” is me]
D: The interface that went with database you retrieved for them.
M: [I had to give full and complete disclosure here] Huh?
D: When you retrieved the database there is an admin interface that goes along with it.
M: [Again, I cannot tell a lie] Huh?
D: Do you know what they are talking about?
M: No. When I got the database off no one said anything about any sort of admin interface, and I didn’t see anything like that on the box.
D: Oh, well… there was a web page they used to do things with it that was accessable on that system. [no longer accessible because the Firecard is acting up]
M: Uh huh, well, I’ll have to see what I can find out…
A bit later in the conversation….
Dude: Oh, and [Company B] wants us [you] to move their [different] web interface to their main host at netnation.
Me: Ok, can you send me the details?
M: Yes, where do they want it? [said with growing apprehension]
M: [with growing concern] Yea, things like where they want it put, if they want it linked, etc etc. Do they want it at http://companyb.com/stuff, or http://stuff.companyb.com, or…
D: Oh, they just want it done.
M: So just do what I want and let you guys know when I’m done?
D: I guess.
M: They really don’t know what they want do they? [I know the answer to this one already]
D: Nope, they just know that they don’t want it hosted on a server in our office anymore.
In my travels through some code looking for a reason that a page was randomly coming up blank (an old CGI script written by their former programmer) I found some really ugly code. Basically every time the page is hit it downloads a CSV file and then parses it and displays it…. in this modern day and age of Perl modules that is really ugly. I was going to suggest it needed a re-write, but in the end I just fixed the bug (a potential divide by zero) and am going to go with the attitude of “if it ain’t broke….”.