Experience, Information Technology, Thank You Sir May I Have Another

Script Kiddies and the Catastrophes They Cause

This is yet another installment of “Move Quickly and Turn Worthless Shit Into Production.”

When you come up through real software development, not this worthless script kiddie shit being touted as great, but real software development, you understand there is a method to the madness. You have to do all of that documentation up front so there are procedures and rules in place the QA team can use to verify everything using tests which do not involve a software developer. I’ve worked in the medical devices field where this is actually required by law. It should be required in all software fields if you are in any way taking money for the software, this includes giving away the software and charging for support.

So, now we encounter yet another group of script kiddies churning out WordPress plug-ins. There is a “free” version of most, but if you want support you need to purchase a “supported” version which has more unlocked features or so it says. This group of script kiddies obviously thinks TDD (Test Driven Development) is something worth while. Yessiree Bob! Having the developer write the test and let Jenkins run it is __always__ a recipe for perfect code . . . NOT!

Here is why you have to have an independent QA team working from docs. One of these little geeks, probably a 12 year old boy, quietly introduced a new requirement of PhP 5.4 or higher. I say quietly because the upgrade made no mention what-so-ever. Didn’t bitch, squawk, moan or pop up a nag-o-gram dialog, it just cleanly installed. The plug-in then quit working.

Push push push and nothing would go through. Send in a ticket for support, no response. They don’t even have a user forum where people could try to provide the support the vendor certainly isn’t. So, I try the little off-line chat window. A day or so later I get an email response saying they offer no support for the free versions. I have to buy a commercial version to get support of any kind. They want me to re-install the plug-in.

That’s it! The Microsoft Solution. Reboot and if it still doesn’t work then wipe and re-install.

I didn’t have to struggle through it, but I know from the person who did, this plug-in is a complete bitch to get configured. Yet another expert friendly chunk of code. There was no way I was doing a full delete and re-install of it. After a full delete it was going to be someone else’s plug-in which got installed.

Careful readers may note there was no mention in the email about a new minimum PhP level. Why? TDD. Without a QA team creating tests based only on the doc, there is no reason to update any doc because nobody is testing with the absolute minimum.

How did I find this out? I deactivated the plug-in then logged out and logged back in. After that, I tried to re-activate the plug-in. This is where I found the only place the plug-in checks for minimum supported versions of things. It actually spit up a dialog stating I needed to have the site up to 5.4 or later. The update process simply ASS-U-MEs you already meet any new minimum requirements.