The mess they left behind
I had a bit of geek pleasure this week. I took an in-house web-application and tidied it’s output up. What was once a pile of tag-soup junk is now clean, accessible, sentatically correct, valid HTML. This was relatively easy, once I’d got my head around the way the app works. It’s quite nice now – but it sits on our intranet, so you’ll never get to see it unless you happen to work in the same place I do.
Then I got cocky. I thought
If I can do that for that app, why can’t I do it for this ever so slightly more complex one?
So I started looking at the source files. Holy crap! It looks like the code was written by a gibbon jumping up and down on the keyboard! As soon as I started trying to tidy it up, things got squelchy. Undo, undo undo! Put it back exactly how it was! Phew. Making that one look nice is going to be an interesting experience.
Still, I think it’s worth doing, even if it’s “just” an in-house intranet application. Your in-house customers are just as important as the outside ones. If you don’t keep them happy, the products and services that they produce for outside customers won’t be as good. Keeping the interface and the code clean and accessible means that it’ll be nicer for user’s to interact with. What’s more, it’ll be easier for the next set of programmers and designers to work with next time around.