Thursday, July 28, 2011


A long time ago in a Company that wrote telecoms software I remember having a discussion that ran along the lines of

"So the SMSC sends an SRI to the HLR, which returns the MSC, Then we Send the SM to the MSC which queries the VLR....."

The conversation went on in that vein for some ten minutes as we discussed where exactly the problem was, what was not talking to what and why not.

To anyone without very current domain knowledge, it was Dutch, or Latin, or perhaps Cherokee, but either way it was hard to follow.

Our code would have been a nightmare for someone to try to follow, it was littered with variable names which were TLAs, FLAs and *FLAs, and some times they were context dependent.

In this day and age, most editors have variable name completion, and **memory is not an issue, so for the love of peace and harmony, and for the sanity of the new guy who starts on Thursday and has to try to figure out the code and fix bugs in it, with partial domain knowledge, and incomplete documentation, at least give the variables and functions sensible names.

(*FLA = Four Letter Abbreviation, unless it has been preceded by FLA, in which case the latter FLA means FIVE Letter Abbreviation)

(**I did work on a program ones, where I had to change all the variable names to shorter names to save memory. That was a long, long, long time ago, when 8k was a whole world of ram, and the program was stored as text, and continually interpreted, and goto was 2nd the most common keyword after if.)

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