You Suck At Programming And I Hate You: Things NEVER To Do In PHP & SQL

One of the more exciting (by which I mean soul-crushing, murderous-rage inducing) things about my job is getting to look at the terrible, terrible code that runs all sorts of different websites on the internet. Chances are, you wrote some of this terrible code; I know I did.  It’s even possible that you still write such code. In case you do, go grab yourself a stiff drink (a strong vodka martini, or gin and tonic is recommended) and get comfortable, because I’m about to lay some edumacation on you.

Things You Should Never Do

First, I’m going to talk about some things I’ve come across that you should never, ever do. If you do these things and I ever have to work on your code, be prepared for the fury of ten-thousand burning suns to come crashing down around you, for I have warned you. Pay it forward by writing decent code, for one day you may find yourself having to maintain someone else’s heap of terrible code and woe, for you shall feel some tinge of guilt, having made other developers go through your new hell.

All of the snippets in this article were found in actual code being used in the wild. (And most of them come from a single, disastrous, amalgamation-of-fail file.)

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Posted in: Development, Rants

Highlighted Links and Improving Web Readability: People are lazy

Sometimes, people ask us about our decision to highlight our non-link text. You’ll notice that whenever there’s bold text on the site, it’s accompanied by a light green background. The reason for this is simple: People are exceptionally lazy.

The Problem: The eye is intimidated, to put it simply, by large, unwavering blocks of text. This can present a bit of a problem when you have a lot of information you want to convey to someone while trying to limit their tendency to skim.

Skimming is the enemy of basic reading comprehension. When a user is presented with a large block of text, it presents a few challenges: It’s incredibly difficult to keep your place once a block of text extends past, say, four lines of text. So people skim. They read the first sentence, they read the last sentence and they try to determine if the content within warrants a closer look.

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Posted in: Design