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The California Guys is a real life story by Allen Pike. It has been described by its author as Some lessons in contracting learned by being a slave programmer.

The web app was rendering using a clutter of frames, which obviously had to go. The visual design was horrible, the usability was horrible, the whole thing was horrible. At first, this excited me because making improvements to something horrible should be easy. It was, at first.

At first glance I thought the variable names were weird, but I wasn’t so fortunate. The variable names were actually in Russian. Ripping out the frames proved out of the question, since they weren’t a design choice, but rather an architecture choice. Soon I was spending a lot of my time fighting against a vortex of tight coupling, magic numbers, presentational HTML, and variable names I couldn’t read.

Read the entire story here and learn how to cope with difficult clients.

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