The Day I Found My Old Code

Today, walking across a client repository, I found a module I wrote two years ago in Python. At the time, we lacked the knowledge to write proper tests, but we used a lot of other tools: PEP8 and Pylint, mostly.

Today-me is pissed with two-years-ago-me for the lack of tests, but where my memory forgot the nuances of the project, the huge amount of comments and proper documentation makes it for.

For example, every pylint disable have an explanation about why it was disabled:

# flask has a weird way to deal with extensions, which work fine but confuses
# the hell out of PyLint.

Related modules are loaded in sequence, with line breaks between different sources:

from flask.ext.babel import Babel
from flask.ext.babel import refresh

from flask.ext.gravatar import Gravatar

from werkzeug.routing import NotFound
from werkzeug.routing import RequestRedirect

Every variable, every function, is documented in proper Sphinx format, which contributes to understanding what the variable/function do:

#: Session duration time
#: The time is given as number and a time interval ("m" for minutes, "h" for
#: hours, "d" for days and "w" for weeks), e.g., "3d". A value of "None" will
#: make the session last till the user closes the browser.
SESSION_EXPIRATION = "1d"
def reroute(route):
    """Route control. The route must exist in the known routes list to return
    a valid result; unknown routes will be redirected to the 404 page; if the
    route exists but it's marked as "maintenance", the request will be
    redirected to the 503 page."""

Also, I found a class with a docstring of about 20 lines. It explains every single parameter in its __init__ function, which makes perfect sense when you generate the documentation.

Where the functions lacked a good name (due having a good name inside their own objects/modules), a comment was added to explain what the function was actually doing:

inject(current_app)         # inject values if run stand-alone modules
load_routes(current_app)    # load the routing information
register_filters()          # register jinja filters
register_functions()        # register jinja functions
register_tests()            # register jinja tests
set_session_time()          # define the cookie time

Also, I had the slight habit of putting large comments in the code when something was kinda hacky:

# Now you're asking yourself: "Why heuristic find?" The reason is
# simple: in _function() , we add a new endpoint on top of one
# existing endpoint; because we do that on top of anything, we don't
# know, for sure, which one of the parameters the user (the other
# programmer, in this case) used in their URLs. So we need to through
# all parameters they expect to receive in their detail function in
# the hopes of finding something that actually matches a "pk".

It doesn't make much sense here, but believe me, it works. I was just reading the code with a function called heuristic_find and I was "Man, which drugs I took to call it 'heuristic_find'?" And BOOM, there it was why it was called like that.

Ok, honesty time: I wasn't the only one writing this code. But thanks to the client input, I started and enforced all those rules (and wrote a huge part of the base code), the code is still readable two years later.

Yeah, I'm proud of it.

Go Top