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No! No! No!

If you are running a database with an API that other people have to connect to and pull data out of using scripts they had to write, you don't just RANDOMLY CHANGE THE FIELD STRUCTURE AND CAPITALISATION TO MAKE IT PRETTIER!

Without any notice, or information, other than just updating your own documentation, so that bunn, staring blankly at code she wrote months ago, has to go and look at the documentation, and stare as if seeking enlightenment at the data coming out of the database, to finally figure out that, oh yes, all these fields that were named like this, are now named like that!

RAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!

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( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
topum
8th Mar, 2017 00:27 (UTC)
I do not understand anything of the above but I am working on a document through a Moldovan ministry database which can be accessed only from within the country and have to connect via a remote connection to a server in Moldova first to appear Moldovan to the database (Hidemyass does not work with them) and it is such a pain that I am happy to support any rants that target IT people for whatever reasons regardless of how much I understand those reasons. So yes, raaaaaaaargh, fully with you on this one.
bunn
8th Mar, 2017 00:39 (UTC)
It's like... imagine you were working in a library, and one day you arrived at the library to find that all the books had been rearranged, AND that all the books were completely blank on the outside, so you had to pull each one off the shelf to find out what was inside it.

Then imagine what is inside the book *has no punctuation or linebreaks*.
bunn
8th Mar, 2017 00:47 (UTC)
UNLESS you expect it not to have punctuation. Then it will have punctuation, but NOT the punctuation you thought it would have.
timetiger
8th Mar, 2017 00:30 (UTC)
We might as well face it. Humans are too often rubbish at communication. I'm feeling quite aggrieved about this myself at the moment.

Bah.
bunn
8th Mar, 2017 00:43 (UTC)
I am reduced to mindless tearing at my hair. It is half past midnight here. I've been trying to figure out WTF is going on since last week.

I feel somehow obscurely that if I were somehow... better at things... this sort of thing would not happen, but I'm almost sure that's a delusion. Almost.
marycatelli
8th Mar, 2017 00:41 (UTC)
What? bother to update the documentation?
bunn
8th Mar, 2017 00:46 (UTC)
The documentation definitely does have errors in it, but on this occasion it does seem to have been updated. Unless the update is a snare and a delusion.

I have got this far by staring at the API documentation and making educated guesses. like 'well, THAT bit is true, but it would be easy to miss updating THAT bit. Let us suppose that Thing 1 is true, and Thing 2 is false, and write a thing to spit out data on that premise. Hmm. my guess at Thing 2 was wrong. How about this? Hey, that was it!

It's like solving a crossword puzzle. I am terrible at crosswords.
anna_wing
8th Mar, 2017 02:45 (UTC)
I do not understand the details but I get the gist.

Can you find out who did it and ask them to either undo it or explain what they did and how the database can be made usable for everyone else?
bunn
8th Mar, 2017 23:26 (UTC)
Last time I asked them a question, it took 6 months for them to answer and the answer I eventually got turned out to be wrong.

I was suitably discouraged from having the temerity to ask again :-D
anna_wing
9th Mar, 2017 02:29 (UTC)
Oh dear. Good luck.
radiantfracture
8th Mar, 2017 05:34 (UTC)
My god, that's RIDICULOUS.
bunn
8th Mar, 2017 23:27 (UTC)
YES IT IS. Thankfully, because their data is a bit iffy anyway, I import it all and provide an editor, so I only had to fix my import script. But still WHO DOES THAT???
andrewducker
9th Mar, 2017 20:23 (UTC)
People for whom style is more important than substance.

Which is not usually something you can say about database administrators.
pixel39
8th Mar, 2017 18:30 (UTC)
The products I support are front-ends to a relational database and many clients have a great deal of customized data coding. Every so often I have to explain to a client that no, you do NOT want to restructure your coding scheme, not now, after TWENTY-SIX THOUSAND records. Or, we get what happened last week, which is that a client decided that a custom field had been created incorrectly and changed the data type after it had been in use and was distressed that all that data disappeared.

It would make me stabby-er, except that there is so much tasty tasty schaudenfreude when they finally understand how much work restructuring their code tables would involve.
bunn
8th Mar, 2017 23:30 (UTC)
There's a particular feeling of powerlessness in this case, because I work for my client, who is not the owner of the database and has no control over it. So I am faced with billing my client for hours of work caused by this uncontrollable THING that neither of us have any control over. So I feel bad about billing them...

This is a foible I should be over by now.
pixel39
9th Mar, 2017 18:28 (UTC)
Ah, yes. I totally get that. I would be contemplating sending the owner of the database a bill, because I'm that sort of person. I'd ALSO be feeling bad about billing my client, because reasons same as yours. And then I'd be righteously furious on their behalf and be having fantasies involving pointy sticks and the owner of the database.
dhampyresa
10th Mar, 2017 22:45 (UTC)
NO. I REFUSE.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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