Project idea: Commit safety for developers

The problem

Programmers are like bad criminals in cop movies.  We just like to leave clues everywhere.  Most of the time, we work much like writers, from the outside in.  Develop an outline, stub out the parts which we might get to, and then fill in the core pieces, followed by the extremities.  If you're lucky you get a quick review and edit and then off to the press.  

Often though, we leave in little todo messages like "@todo: Actually write this function" or "@todo: make sure you check for a security hole here".  Or unprofessional error messages like "oops, something didn't work" or even worse "idiotic user doesn't know how to read instructions and forgot to use lower case".  And sometimes, I've been guilty of leaving debug code in which is there for me to look at what is happening in the code, but should never be accessed by others.

In my 13 years of reading other peoples' code, I don't think I'm alone here.

Ever seen "An unexpected error has occurred" or "Oops, shouldn't have gotten here" in an application... yeah, the dev needed this.

The proposal

An extension to your version control system of choice and/or your continious integration tool which checked code for various


Free Ideas: Paper clip guy for your bash CLI

Warning for Non-nerds: you are not required to read this blog post.

I was chatting Barry Jaspan this morning about how he switched from tcsh to bash after 22 years!  It turns out the features he stayed with tcsh for had been available in bash for years.  He just didn't know how to use them, or didn't know they existed and couldn't be bothered to learn.  This is very typical.  I work at about 75% or less efficiency on the command line (something I often spend 1/4-/1/2 my day doing).  It's hard to try and figure out what tools you need to be a little more efficient and have a more pleasurable command line experience.  And then retaining that knowledge (especially for the more arcane ones) is a difficult task.

So what about:

A M$ Office paper clip dude for your terminal

You've retyped something 5 times he pops up with "Do you want me to show you how to create an alias?"

but make it a really geeky and pretentious fat linux dude w/ a beard

like "You obviously can't RTFman! You don't know about {,shell expansion} or do you just like to waste time?"



Whattya think?  Should we do it?


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