Monday, 3 December 2012

Always write good code!

I was reminded over the weekend of a system I wrote way back in 1999, it was a crude CGI based gateway to the internet for a pre-existing software product and because of the tools available being so limited and the company not actually being on high speed internet I was limited to implementing this application in C.

So, armed with C and the CGi specification I set about working out ways to get this dynamic content on the screen.

And one of the ways was to let a web-savvie developer create the HTML pages, then upon requests my CGI simply loaded it, parsed and replaced element names and voila output a dynamic content page.

The symbols I used to denote a replace being needed was <%=VALUE%>.  All these years later it strikes me as being so very very similar to PHP but predates its definitive v4 incarnation by a year, and even rivals the v1 Zend Engine PHP release in age.

The reason I was reminded of it was someone had found the code, found my name, looked me up on the internet and came to this blog in a round about fashion.  The reason being?...

THAT CGI C code is still being used!

Its over 17 years old, and its still in use... And I was paid a pittence to make it work...

They offered me a small, cheap, contract to support the code... I have had to decline, not least because I already have an employer whom would frown upon moonlighting, but also because I really think they should pay a professional web-developer to re-work their portal.  And secure it.

The code is being run on an old Pentium III, top of the range at the time, server.  With Windows 2000 SP4 I think he said.  "Its a machine we just leave on, well it went off the other day and we noticed the live clockings were not going in, so we figured that's what the machine does".

If its the same cheap ass beige box from all those years ago, I'm impressed its still running, not least because it's moved properties three times, going from my then employer in the wilds of Warwickshire, to I think Oxford and now sitting in a ratty office near Southampton.

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