Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

A Week of Unintended Consequences

One aspect of my job, pretty much for as long as I've been programming, has been Systems Integration. While it's sometimes described as a specialty unto itself, the fact is that it's a routine part of the day for most people building interesting real-world software. Making things talk to other things is a constant necessity. Normally that doesn't phase me, but it does have one problem: whenever you replace a part in this contraption you're building, other parts tend to break. This week has been a doozy in that regard.

It started off with an apparently minor issue. I was implementing the "catch up" feature, and discovered that the dialog boxes (which I hadn't used much before) didn't quite work in the client packages I was using. Well, said I, that's not all that surprising -- I'm currently using old beta versions of those packages. They've finally gotten to releases, so I may as well upgrade. But of course, in between the fairly old beta I was using and the release, there were *loads* of changes, so as soon as I changed versions, the CommYou client no longer worked. So a day or two got lost in the cracks, bringing everything up to date.

(Just to add insult to injury, it didn't fix the original problem. Turned out that I had been missing a component all along, but of course Javascript doesn't helpfully say, "This code is missing, dumbass". There are days I hate Javascript. And then there are days I *really* hate Javascript.)

Just around the time that was fixed, out comes Firefox 3. Having heard all sorts of yummy things about it, I upgraded my work laptop. That actually went pretty smoothly, until this afternoon when I had the sinking realization that there was surely no chance that my test harness (built on an old version of Selenium) would work -- I've been in this business long enough to know when too much has changed to reasonably hope for success. Sure enough, it crashed hard before even opening the browser. So this afternoon's project has been digging into the Selenium website, to see what it says about Firefox 3. The extra hour of reading was enough to convince me that simply upgrading to the current beta of *that* wouldn't be good enough (because there's a critical bug that was logged after the beta release). So now I'm running on a nightly build of Selenium. Seems to function, but does nothing to comfort me.

Oh, well. Things seem to be basically working again, and I feel much more up-to-date. But it's all been a good reminder of why some people find Systems Integration a bit daunting...
Tags: commyou, diary

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