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moderately geeky  moderately geeky

Case 197


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The most sensitive implementation tasks were often trusted to masters only, and one such task had just been assigned to young master Zjing.

“It is a critical webservice endpoint, which must be ready by tomorrow morning,” explained master Banzen. “I have emailed you my notes on how it should behave.”

Zjing labored in her little hut throughout the night. But as dawn approached she noticed something amiss: if the backend threw an unchecked exception, Banzen wanted her to catch it and return a status of SERVICE_ERROR.

“Either his knowledge of our protocols is woefully lacking, or his notes were made in too much haste,” said Zjing to herself. “For I have implemented a dozen such services, and we return SYSTEM_ERROR in this case.”

She began an email to the Temple masters, requesting permission to make the change, when she stopped herself:

“It will be hours before this is seen. Am I so full of self-doubt that I will jeopardize our schedule, sitting on my hands until my elders tell me what I already know? What kind of master behaves thusly? And think of the dishonor it would bring on poor Banzen, to have his mistake be known! How true the saying: when time is short, it is easier to beg forgiveness than permission.”

- - -

The following midnight, the entire Clan of Iron Bones was awakened by their cellphones beeping CRITICAL OUTAGE. Host master Yishi-Shing woke the nun Hwídah to help investigate.

“I have traced the problem to Zjing’s new code,” explained a bleary-voiced Hwídah on the conference call. “Her webservice returned SYSTEM_ERROR when it caught a RuntimeException.”

“That is our custom,” said Zjing.

“Not when the webservice is an internal monitor, and the exception came from pinging a non-critical vendor site known to be unreliable,” said Banzen. “SERVICE_ERROR is our custom then, Young Master... for that would not have woken Yishi-Shing’s entire clan while they were sleeping off their three-day upgrade marathon. The clan was most interested in administering your correction.”

“I suppose it is fortunate that they do not know where I live,” said Zjing.

At that moment there was an angry pounding on Zjing’s door.

“Ah, did you wish that kept a secret?” asked Banzen. “I do beg your forgiveness.”