See "How to Write Unmaintainable Code" at

My favorite tip is the one on using extended ASCII characters in variables.


Scott Ingvaldson
AS/400 System Administrator
GuideOne Insurance Group

-----Original Message-----
date: Sat, 28 Feb 2004 09:50:32 +1100
from: Simon Coulter <shc@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
subject: Re: Line-by-line commenting in source code

On Saturday, February 28, 2004, at 08:04  AM, Booth Martin wrote:

> what is "INLR" & "*INLR" ?

Oh hah, very droll! A rhetorical question if ever I saw one.

I've seen programs commented entirely in Latin, I've seen code where 
every internal variable was a rude word or phrase, I've ported code 
which had 12 different flags for sleep and the original programmer 
resorted to national languages and spelling errors to distinguish them 
so the code had variables called sleep, snooze, siesta, sieta, etc. You 
can imagine what the rest of his code looked like. Complete CRAP!

Some years ago I inherited code where the programmer closed every 
program with a quotation or verse reference from the Bible. Perhaps he 
felt that all his effort was to the greater glory of God, or perhaps he 
was exhorting his God to ensure the code worked correctly. I found such 
comments offensive and removed them all. Faith has no place in an 
environment predicated on logic. You might as well slaughter a goat 
(goats again?) and place its entrails on the keyboard at midnight 
(which is what some SRCs mean).

At one time in my youth I had to write a PLMI macro that had to get 
stuff from a profile and put stuff in a profile. I called the macro 
HOOVER and gave it two functions: SUCK retrieved stuff and BLOW stored 
stuff. We (Antipodeans that is) thought it funny but our American 
compatriots didn't find it at all amusing. They also had difficulty 
with us saying we'd "knock up" some code ...

I currently have to work on code where the only comments are slagging 
off IBM or some other staff member because the original programmer 
didn't understand OS/400 nor the concept of backwards compatibility. 
That's an exercise in frustration. Needless to say I remove the 
offensive comments as I find them.

All these examples place a good case for code reviews.

Simon Coulter.
    FlyByNight Software         AS/400 Technical Specialists
    Phone: +61 3 9419 0175   Mobile: +61 0411 091 400        /"\
    Fax:   +61 3 9419 0175                                   \ /
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