My acquaintance works for a company specialized in processing flight data in real time. I'm not certain about the detail, but apparently, the common backend solutions like Java, Node, Ruby etc. are not sufficient. In the end, they built everything using C. You heard it right, the backend was built with C, that was mind-blowing to me. 😲
With that said, what was the most exotic codebase you had ever worked on? What led you and your team to the decision? How was your experience with that solution?
Top comments (17)
Umm…I was helped make a documentation repository using Lotus Notes as the programming language. And because of the requirements (e.g. cutting documents over from one environment to another) we had to buy a plugin that allowed for the moving of documents (and related links) from one environment to another.
Then again, I also maintained some RPG 2 code; the kind where the program assumes that you are reading a database table and looping over records (as in the loop is hidden).
I also had to learn a bit of Pascal to run a monthly job on the lone Windows 3.1 machine that could still run the code given all the constraints (by then all other machines were on Windows NT and Windows 2000 was the regular system).
Hmm…then there was the Remote Desktop into a local windows machine to then Remote Desktop to a remote windows machine to maintain the PHP code for which there was no source control (pre-my arrival).
Oye, weird odds and ends in my history.
I know a little about Pascal (also the first language that I learned), and it is exotic enough to me. Lotus Notes and RPG 2, this is the first time I hear about them, but that is the case for most languages of the past, I guess?
It seems Lotus Notes is still relevant in a certain market. This makes me wonder if popular languages of the current era will fade away in the end.
…and all that shall remain will be the towering monoliths of Cobol and the priests muttering their Lisp incantations.
I was once handed a 3 megabyte SQL script to manage (and debug as I soon found longstanding errors), expand (as I wasn't approved to cull any of it) and automate (well, I wasn't asked to do that but I didn't enjoy "manually" running it so I turned it into a nested set of stored procedures and executed the lot with one statement).
My work experience is really short so I have not worked in exotic code bases... But during university I worked a lot on my own, so I remember going back to one of my oldest projects and oh boy that was exotic. I wanted to make a chatbot engine (which you can still find in the depths of my Github), fully In C++, when I didn't know how to use external dependencies and nothing about regexes. I built what I, years later, realized that was a regex engine, with an embedded interpreter for a basic scripting language (not Turing complete) that would be read from files with a custom format (I didn't know about the existence of json either). That monstrosity was +3000 lines long... and about three years later I dived again in it to rewrite it in f****** java. Life is weird.
I think many people were in the same boat as you, I tried to create everything at the beginning without being aware of existing solutions out there. Now looking back, one of my projects was meant to be a MVC framework in Java, well, conceptually. At that time, I don't even know there is a thing called MVC, so you can imagine the outcome of the project. Well, at least it's nowhere near your league of monstrosity. 😱
A bit OT but I once worked for a company that had a franchise ERP system running in progress on SUN unix and an importer system running on IBM AS400 (DB2 and COBOL I think). My boss got called away from an overseas holiday to give a presentation to a large international client and was told to tell them they were integrated. She basically specced the interface on-the-fly in the meeting then we had to make it work LIKE SHE HAD DESCRIBED.
It was a stressful 4 months....
I worked at IBM on the ISeries operating system for many years.
There's no way to grasp the entire breadth of something as big as that was. Fortunately for me, they had discrete software components with well defined boundaries. I worked on three components.
If using Docker then was the codebase still in C, or other languages? Also, is there an exploit to win against those machines? 😂
Jokes aside, there is flightradar24, but I believe it uses PHP for backend. I wonder to what end do we need to use C for the backend instead. Saying flight data is rather generic, but I did not ask for more information since it might be confidential.
A gwt project in 2016
I worked in a company were nearly all the project was lock in SPIP, a 15 years old PHP frameworks. This technological debt forced us to work in php 5, in 2021 !
GraalVM Quarkus kotlin typescript
I worked with a huge Smalltalk codebase at IBM.
That's exotic in itself.
I later turned down 2 other Smalltalk jobs because I wanted to do C++ (this was the 90s).
I know a little about Pascal codebase, the first language that I learned and it is exotic enough to me. This makes me wonder if popular languages of the current era will fade away in the end.