Scary to the Core: 10 Horror Stories for Web Developers
Halloween is fast approaching. You can almost picture the scene. You = at your desk, late at night, working hard on that latest project. Outside = the full moon glows at the window. A chill wind blows. In the distance, a wolf howls… Thankfully, those types of horror-filled scenarios don’t plague us web developers too much. In fact, we probably wouldn’t even notice a hoard of zombies entering the office, because we’d be too lost in thought about selector nesting in Sass, SVG animations, or the new Chrome extensions. Yeah, we’re nerdy. However, there’s plenty of other nightmares we have to face on a regular basis. Here’s all our (least) favorite horrible situations…
Web Dev Horror Story Time! (Read With the Lights On…)
The Haunted House
You know this nightmare well. You sit at your laptop, surveying the terrible, bloated mess in front of you. Inside this botched website is a spectral mist of incomprehensible code: tens of terrible JS libraries, CSS files of 10k rows or more, not to mention a house of cards structure, just waiting to topple if you dare to make the slightest change. Is there anything worse than having to brave the horror house that is someone else’s poorly coded site?
As with so many classic horror films, everything’s going well, then suddenly, a mysterious force attacks you out of nowhere! In the developer’s case, this is the sudden, inexplicable loss of data. There’s no backup. Those CSS files have been beamed up into outer space, you have no way of retrieving them and no time. Nightmare!
If there’s one thing that sends a shiver down our spine, it’s battling with ancient monsters, such as IE 6, or a menacing drop-down menu in Opera 9. No, please, we can’t stand it! Save us from these tortures and pack them all off into the tomb where they belong!
The Greedy Vampires
We all know these particular clients or bosses from hell. They’re generally the ones calling at all hours of the night, asking for just one more change, or just a little bit of extra work. They’re out for blood, and they won’t quit until they’ve drained you dry!
Like the plague, bugs can haunt even your smoothest running web development projects. Think you’ve fixed one? You can guarantee that in doing so, you’ve just created a few more. These little monsters like to multiply. It’s like our favorite song always says: ’99 little bugs, sitting in your code. 99 little bugs sitting in your code. And if one little bug gets patched around and then explodes, there will be 117 little bugs, sitting in your code.’
The Growling Zombie
Like the great undead themselves, these guys aren’t blessed with great communication skills. You need plenty of guesswork to understand what they are urhhh-ing about. Yeah, they’ve got a vague idea of what they want. And you get it, right? You don’t need specs, documentation, or even a basic context, do you? If you haven’t got psychic powers, working with the growling zombie client can feel a little like being trapped in a crypt. Someone, set us free… please!
Coven of Witches
Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble… if you’re working with an unholy coven of demanding bosses, it can really get you down. It’s the constant over-communication that’s the real problem, not to mention the endless pointless meetings. ‘When shall we three meet again’? they ask, whipping out their diaries. They’re blissfully unaware that you’re silently screaming ‘never again!’
Have you ever seen a website that is so darned ugly you wanted to cry? These creepy-clown designs are pure torture on the eyes, but the worst thing is, you’ve got to brace yourself and deal with them! Worst. Nightmare. Ever.
Poor old Frankenstein’s monster. He was born, and he really didn’t have a clue about anything, which of course, led him to go on a major killing spree, as you do. Thankfully, your Frankenstein client is unlikely to go to those lengths (we hope), but they’re still irritatingly inept at understanding even basic concepts. We love all those questions, don’t we… especially ones like: ‘How can I put it on the Internet’ and ‘Can you build me a Google website’?
Oh, this is a very little kind of bugs. They’re like poltergeists, lurking, hidden away from your view, only to burst out and show their ugly face to the customer. The moment you go after them, they are gone, and you can’t reproduce them no matter what you do. They’re definitely our least favorite guests in our websites. Someone call for an exorcist… we’ve got a bug on the loose!
What’s Your Worst Nightmare?
We hope the list above hasn’t spooked you out too much. Do you think we’ve missed any Halloween web development horrors? If so, let us know! Get in touch, via our Facebook or Twitter pages, and fill us in on your worst web dev nightmares. Happy Halloween, people!