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2023 Week 3 in Review

planted on in: Week In Review.
~424 words, about a 3 min read.

"The computer was born to solve problems that did not exist before."
ā€” Bill Gates

This week we started and then reverted deployment of a massive feature, this is something I had been working on for the better part of 2022 and the subsequent temporary failure to launch is a tad disappointing but nothing out of the ordinary for software development.

The feature itself relied upon a problem-solving service written in Python, a language none in the team is familiar with, originally written by a data scientist with expert knowledge of the functionality required. To say this service was a "black-box" would be an understatement, we provided it a problem object and after some extensive computation it would return a solution object or say no solution possible.

During the development of the new feature I gave the Python code a cursory glance, even going so far as to install intelliJ PyCharm in order to make navigation of its code easier. From the surface it appeared to be doing exactly what we wanted from it, all tests came back green and before launch I joked the worse case scenario would be that the blackbox began behaving unexpectedly.

Well you can guess what happened cant you?

Yup, the blackbox misbehaved; I now dug deeper into its code than before and found an important configuration option not actually being passed to anything internally. In addition to that it failed to compute solutions to problems we gave it even though those problems where 100% solvable.

After almost eight hours in the trenches with two colleagues we decided to call it a day and revert the deployment. Thankfully having a decent CI/CD setup meant that was as "simple" as force resetting the main branch head to a commit just before "the merge."

Joke of the week

Autocorrect has become my worst enema.

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