How To: Write Unmaintainable Code

15 09 2006

How To Write Unmaintainable Code by Roedy Green

If you read nothing else in this entire blog, or in the world, read this article.

Here’s the intro:

In the interests of creating employment opportunities in the Java programming field, I am passing on these tips from the masters on how to write code that is so difficult to maintain, that the people who come after you will take years to make even the simplest changes. Further, if you follow all these rules religiously, you will even guarantee yourself a lifetime of employment, since no one but you has a hope in hell of maintaining the code. Then again, if you followed all these rules religiously, even you wouldn’t be able to maintain the code!

You don’t want to overdo this. Your code should not look hopelessly unmaintainable, just be that way. Otherwise it stands the risk of being rewritten or refactored.

Now read the rest. This is good advice even if you aren’t a programmer.



One response

15 09 2006

Wonderful white paper/article! I am not a Java programmer but this can give some good ideas to keep your code out of the hands of “rippers” and keep your job if you are in a the field using it.
Also this is a much safer way of making sure the next guy can’t just take over where you left off as you and the paper mention.
This is a much safer and more ethical measure (and legal) to screw them over if you do get ‘let go’ (the politically correct way of saying, “your fired!”) in a worst case scenario. The sometimes non-legal and pseudo-devious methods usually employed were to backdoor the code just in case or insert some sort of logical bomb you could locally or remotely trigger to keep your work from being stolen even if you had an agreement that the company maintained all rights to your work while you were with them, which is often the case. Word to the wise: See the fine print of those job contracts before you sign them or else you may loose all rights to your own work (that is if you care to retain them.) This premise is enough to make one think a bit harder when coding for regular company jobs or contractors. Better that you hook them into needing you and have the upper hand whether it’s Java programming or any other language you work with the point is a good one and probably quite often overlooked by most. Great real world advice here. It’s always good to know more on how to protect your own work and job and this brings that point home well, even if the article itself were to suck which it does not. Now if I just had a real job I would be in good shape. ;P
Thanks for digging this up Don!

– Azag

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