Random notes 2014-11-18

A busy few weeks. A visit from an old friend, a server migration (which isn’t yet complete), and life.

Migrating a bunch of mailman lists to google groups has gone fairly smoothly. The MailMan Archive Migration tools turned out to be very useful — the reposted messages appear with the time they were reposted and the order seems to be a bit mysterious, but everything’s there to the satisfaction of all the interested parties. A more frustrating limitation when migrating lists is that users can be added ten at a time to a maximum of 100 per day. Hopefully I only need two days worth.

The rest of the server migration falls under the headings of domains and databases. Nothing particularly exotic, mostly tedious.

The last two weeks in code…

Opportunistic extraction — wrote a little bit of perl  to make the most of some readily available well-structured data and provide easily readable update information in a particular script. The results are pretty good — and it will probably break as a side effect of some other change at an indeterminate time in the future.

Related thought: dependency tracking. How can we better track reverse dependencies? Not only are unknown consumers of code & data a common source of bugs, that changing some code might break something else becomes a cause for code stagnation. We can do better.

Breaking everyone’s everything — migrating a lot of code to a new shiny settings management system. Worth the effort, but a lot of time spent diagnosing complex interactions between build configurations, target macros, and my own mistakes while working with a third-party’s shiny new code. Related: adding diagnostics. Also related: removing silly old hacks. Both of these can be quite satisfying.

Fixing my own breakage — turns out that bugs added in an unrelated branch can languish a long time before they get noticed. Better testing habits seem desirable. Also, being a less terrible programmer.

Technical debt — hacks put in place to get an app reliably demoable may not be suitable for use outside the demo. I demoed a thing — it  went well (really well). But then I needed days to clean up the frenzy of code hacks, and even then I ended up with bugs that would bite a week later. Probably a lesson there.

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