May 14th, 2002


Helpful people

Warning: geek talk ahead!

We have a rather crufted together build system at my firm. It's grown over the years as various people have added things on to it, usually without documenting and without respect for how it fits in with the existing build system.

I am building the web component for a new product line we will be selling. This code is brand new. It will be unstable for a short while. Because of this, I want to give the rest of our developers the option of not having this new code be part of their builds. However, the part of the build system for excluding new chunks is pretty crufted together.

Because it is crufted together, I can't set the default to "do not include this possibly broken new code." Every developer who wants to exclude it has to explicitly make some changes to exclude it.

Of course, everyone wants the exclusion set to be the default. I've stated there isn't any reasonable way for me to do so. I could exclude it if I re-wrote a major portion of the exclusion code, but that is beyond the scope of my job and not a good use of my time.

So now, lots of people are trying to be helpful and explain to me how it can be done. Most of them are telling me to do things that I have already tried. The rest are suggesting re-writes of the exclusion code. What is currently irritating me is that people are suggesting things they haven't tried themselves. They have no idea if they work. Try something before you open your big mouth (or send off that e-mail, as the case may be) and tell someone else in haughty tones that it is obvious how to solve the problem. I tried the obvious solutions, numnuts. I need non-obvious solutions, or piss off.

Thus endeth the rant.