Software Development is a Joke!


Have you ever tried to explain zero-based arrays to a non-developer? Like why the program crashed because you were “off by one”? Well, if not, you should try it. When I did, I got a look on the person’s face that clearly said: “for somebody who is supposed to be good at logic, this zero-based array thing of yours does not make ANY sense!”. So now one of my favorite things to do is to watch another developer explain this topic to somebody. Cracks me up. 

Better yet: try showing and explaining a regular expression to the layman!

Several years ago I’ve joined a project where one of my tasks was to find out why some financial records were disappearing from the application. When I found out what the reason was, at first I was mad at somebody doing something so stupid, but then I had to laugh when I explained the issue to the boss.

Of course there’s also the maddening experiences, such as pulling your hairs off over something that doesn’t work, just to find out the reason for it was you forgetting to run that stupid data script.

Well, I’ve got my own share of funny and not so funny (but when told to somebody else ends up being funny!) stories, pet peeves, and such. So I’m working on putting together a different type of presentation. Here’s the 1st draft of my abstract:


Several of my technical presentations introduce some kind of humor, but sometimes people end up learning the joke and not the concept. So I decided to do a humor presentation based on software development, introduce some technical stuff, and see if I get the opposite result!

After so many years writing software, I can’t help but laugh at so many (good and bad!) experiences myself and other developers have had. Not to mention things that just can’t make sense to normal people: how can this ˆ[A-Z0-9._%+-]+@[A-Z0-9.-]+\.[A-Z]{2,4}$ be called a “regular” expression? (If you know by heart what that expression means, you are probably the kind of people who’ll try to explain to me why zero-based arrays are kinda cool…).

F-bombs may be dropped, but let’s be honest, you drop them yourself when it’s 5pm on Friday and that code insists not to work, don’t you?


So if you have your own stories or pet peeves to share, please send it my way; now, be aware that I may turn whatever you share into a comic bit of my presentation. Smile

You can post it as a comment here, or we can communicate through Skype or something. However works for you.

  1. #1 by Brian Bedard on June 11, 2013 - 9:54 am

    I remember a time when we had a mysterious application failure and it always happened around 4:30 PM. Let me try and explain.
    We were developing a new piece of software and the business decided they wanted to “fasttrack” our prototype in Test straight to production. So we deployed it, tested it, and everything was cool. But then we started getting reports that the application quit working at 4:30 PM and never would work during the weekend or on holidays. Wierd huh?
    This lasted for a few weeks and I finally had time to investigate it. It took some time probably because I went the wrong way through the stack of components and their dependencies.
    Do you know what I found? A connection string. Drum roll… pointed at my co-workers SQL server instance on his laptop. And guess what? When he packed up for the day and shut down his laptop or put it to sleep, the application stopped working!
    That was fun.

    • #2 by claudiolassala on June 11, 2013 - 10:12 am

      Hahha… awesome. Isn’t that what they call “job security”? 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  2. #3 by SG Tidwell on September 28, 2013 - 8:06 pm

    I just sat through “Software Development Is a Joke” at Houston Techfest! I will sum it up in 4 very short words. Claudio is a Genius! Since I was “threatened” with having to write code in VB6 if I recorded it, I wrote as fast as I could to “share” this experience for the Suckers Who Did Not Go! The only thing that was missing from this session was the waitress telling me “two drink minimum”

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