Bad Habits

I have a bad habit. We all have bad habits, but I should know better. After all, I’m a professional software developer. I really should know better. But then, to be a bad habit, it must be both bad, and habitual.

To what behavioral horror do I alude? I like to test in production. You know, make changes to a live system, just to see what happens. Instead of making changes the test system. That was designed for testing. Changes. Bad!

But the first step with any problem is admitting you have a problem. For me, it started innocently years ago, with a web site I built and maintain for my employer. It has a small, well-defined clientel (Less than 200 users), and processes anywhere from $10 to $15 Billion dollars a month in transactions. Yes, Billion with a “b”. And so what do I do when someone reports a minor issue? Do I set up the test system, try to reproduce the problem, fix it, regression test, and then release? Well, yes, sometimes. But for minor little problems, I’ve been known to save time (hush, I know) and make the changes directly on the production system. This is an example of what professionals call Bad Mojo. Do not mess with this stuff.

While I have learned over the years not to do this at work (thankfully not the hard way; I guess I just figured out that Karma is not exempt from the Law of Averages), I’ve been doing so lately here on my weblog. Maybe this isn’t so bad, after all I’m running a personal site. I wouldn’t be the first person to let readers watch “over the shoulder” at the evolution of a design. Nevertheless, I’ve knocked the blog off the air several times while working on plugins, and this is bad form; the whole practice sets my spider-senses to tingling.

The moral of the story is that I’ve setup a mirror of this site on my Powerbook, and I’ll be (working at) confining development work to my local platform.

Speaking of site development, a few notes. Posts will remain sparse for a few more days, as I am visiting family for the Labor Day weekend, and am stuck in a pre-millenial backwater of the web (i.e., dial-up. Gasp!). I am, however, working on the site on my local copy, and hope to have a number of changes published to the site within the next several days. The overall look hasn’t changed greatly, but has been much refined (I hope). I’ve finally gotten my very first Blosxom Plugin working, and will be announcing that (and putting it to work on the site) soon. Comments are also in the works. Stay Tuned.

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