Many thanks to Tristan Morris for creating a beautiful illustrated hardcover print edition of the site


Master Banzen was in a neighboring province, visiting an abbot whose brethren had recently won a development contract away from a incumbent.

“It has proven to be a hollow victory,” lamented the abbot as he poured the tea. “The code we inherited is a towering mountain of dung, where even the slightest prod buries us up to our eyeballs in a landslide of manure festering with null-pointer exceptions.”

“I am eating,” the master said.

“Little wonder that our predecessors were unable to make even the slightest modification without weeks of effort!” continued the abbot. “Little wonder the governor’s patience was at an end! We should refactor, but I do not know even where to begin, or how to verify that we have not broken anything in the process.”

“Where are the requirements?” asked the master.

“There are none,” said the abbot. “The governor’s habit is to dictate each change as the mood strikes him. He says that, by definition, whatever the code is doing right now is correct.”

Banzen sipped his tea. “It is? Then all my sympathies go to the governor, and none to you! That poor man! Twice now—and at no small expense—he has contracted an entire abbey to build software for the express purpose of making him miserable. You should thank your predecessors for their admirable foundation.”