Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Don't panic, Captain Mainwaring!!

I don't often blog about my work because, frankly, it's dull if you're not a software engineer (and probably even then), but I had a moment of panic today, and after analysing it after it was over, I really can't, for the life of me, figure out why. I had written something a while ago and my testing (on my development machine) indicated that it was working properly, so I moved it to the production server and thought no more about it. Until today, when I needed to take a peek at it for something else that I was doing. When I looked at it, I noticed that it was failing to run (it's supposed to run every night and poke tutors that are getting lax with their marking) – but it was only failing sometimes, which is the worst kind of bug to have. I noticed this not long before lunch, and it quite miffed me off, as if it was a personal affront. I don't think that I've ever felt that way about a bug before! And by the time that I got back from lunch, I was positively panicking about it. In the end, I figured out the problem in less than an hour after getting back from lunch (if you really care, it was because I hadn't uploaded updated versions of certain classes that my problem class depended on when I made it live – which is why it didn't show up in testing). That was just a rather odd experience since there was no immediate rush for it to be fixed. I could have just disabled the nightly job until I had fixed it. Things are quiet in the summer, and even if it had happened during term time, it wouldn't have been a disaster. After that, I'd hate to think how I'd react in a real emergency :).

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