2018-issue 4-item 08 - Delft-FEWS
Deeper into the FEWS rabbit hole
Working on the java code line on the inside of FEWS is just as fascinating as admiring it from the outside. A good 5 years ago I got an invite for a very challenging job interview at Deltares. Even though I wasn’t sure I was up for this challenge, I decided to follow the white rabbit. Having spoken to a developer and product manager (PM) I got very curious and wanted to enter the world of FEWS. So I took the red pill and went deeper into this rabbit hole. I never regretted it for 1 second.
Every day I take a seat at my own “flex-desk” at the 3rd floor of the main building, which feels like a seat of our very own Nebuchadnezzar. I will travel through many of the hundreds of thousands of Java code lines.
Every reported bug, feature request or client question feels like a new mission. It has its own mysterious key (Jira issue number) appointed to it by one of our PM's (Product Morpheus's), that never immediately reveals exactly where I will end up.
When and where will I reach my Zion to finish my mission? Will it be in my own recently created code, my code from 4 years ago, my colleagues’ code of 10 years ago or even code from 15 years ago, created by a forgotten legend of the past (an old developer that most people never met)?
The beauty of the legendary code is, that it was impressive for its time but luckily FEWSkind has evolved over the years. Step by step the old blocks are being rebuilt to be more and more future proof. However thanks to our own subversion history book (version management system), we shall never forget our ancestors and where we came from. Our best and worst decisions will be remembered, like the trim fix, the Tuesday bug (the bug that only occurred on Tuesdays) or the waiting icon that ironically slowed down our system significantly.
Since the FEWS team is still going strong and working full time on improving the software, much more history will be written. Last week for instance, when it came to light that the database we had been using for years behaved differently than we always thought it would. Or coming across magical lines of code that are impossible to figure out by yourself or by the developers sitting next to you. Then there is always The Oracle (most knowledgeable developer) whom you can turn to. Make sure you pay very close attention when you do, because what the Oracle tells you is meant for you and you alone. This way of working has proven itself again and again, and will do so for many generations to come. So bring on the next challenge for us and keep requesting new features to create a better tomorrow!