I just spent the last four hours pouring over the programming I have been working on recently, after an “all up” test late yesterday went disastrously wrong. What started with me hunched over the keyboard muttering unintelligible nonsense turned into a small group of developers crouched around my screen, also muttering unintelligible nonsense.
There was no bug. I had written one word wrong in the data I supplied to the programming, and the programming – being stupid – didn’t pick up on it. Neither did any of us that were picking the code to pieces.
I wonder how many years we will have to wait before computers can respond to our requests with “I see what you’re doing there, and I know what you meant – here, let me fix that for you”.
I guess half the problem is that I’m so used to making bone-headed mistakes while writing code that I almost expect the fault to lie in the programming. In this case I had written a perfect program – but instead of giving it a nice list of files to work on, I essentially just murmured “custard” in it’s general direction. Unfortunately, computers don’t know “custard” isn’t a sensible suggestion, so run with it.