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2003/10/07 Spaghetti code

© October 2003 Tony Lawrence

Probably more often applied to Basic code than anything else because of the "GOTO" statement, but is often used to describe any tangled and confused mess of code.

Programmers don't always write bad code out of ineptitude. Sometimes it is a deliberate form of job security. This is true both for in-house programmers and those doing contract work for others. In both cases, convoluted code makes it difficult for someone else to take it over or provide new features. Of course, this can backfire: it can also make the original programmer confused and impotent.

The Obfuscated C Contest raises confusing code to an art level.

Deliberately nasty code is often combined with truly awful formatting just to further scare off any who would dare to examine it. Lack of comments or obviously pointless comments :

# sort
@x=sort @y;

can be another sign of job protection at work.

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