Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fixing the Symptoms

Well, I've gone and gotten a cold. I'm sneezy and sniffly (and a real joy to be around!).

Our nightly automated tests also caught a cold this weekend. They showed an inability to talk over certain interfaces on about 25 machines.

When it comes to a head cold like I have, all you can do is treat the symptoms. We know that there is no cure (currently, anyway) for the underlying disease: the common cold. So we try to fix the symptoms - antihistamines, painkillers, etc. When we know we can't fix it, we might as well try to avoid it.

Same thing for nightly automated tests, right?


We know what the symptoms are - some 25 machines can't talk to other machines over certain interfaces. But we don't know what the underlying cause is. Maybe it's curable.

So before we go treating symptoms of the problem, writing code to handle it, let's see if we can just fix the problem. It may save a whole lot of coding, and it's okay to not report on something if that something isn't going to happen.

It's only good to spend time fixing symptoms if you can't fix the underlying problem. If you can fix the problem, don't waste your time on symptoms.

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