Many thanks to Hanzík for the Czech translations!

tcc-case-title
moderately geeky  moderately geeky

Case 230

All Together Now

The Hungry Worm Clan was building a website for a craftsman who made custom farming tools. Young master Zjing was reviewing the code of their three developers.

“I do not understand the purpose of the LatestSellByDate property in your shopping cart’s PurchaseItem,” she said to the three. “Shovels and rakes do not expire.”

“That property was requested by the Red Pebble Clan,” replied the first monk. “They are building a system for managing a merchant’s cherry farms, and they plan to use our order-placement service instead of building their own.”

“What?” asked Zjing in disbelief. “Who suggested that?”

“You did,” said the second monk. “For did you not tell two of our clans that the reuse of services was superior to the copying and pasting of code?”

“Yes, but the business needs of your two clans are completely different!” cried Zjing. “Eventually, the cherry purchasers may need options for crate size, refrigerated shipping, and insurance against pests. All of these could have their own rules and calculations!”

“You are worrying about a future that may never come to pass,” countered the third monk. “And even if it does, so what? The more features we implement, the greater the chance that we can support our other clients.”

“Other clients?” asked Zjing.

“Two other Tiny Clans have expressed interest in our services,” said the first monk.

“For unicycle parts and novelty wedding costumes,” said the second monk.

“And I have begun designing a plug-in mechanism to handle unforeseen cases,” said the third monk. “In the end the Temple will save much development time overall.”

- - -

Later that week Zjing called a meeting of the Tiny Clans under her tutelage. Dozens of monks and nuns crowded into the dim, stuffy, windowless Hall of Irresistable Somnolence where long presentations were given.*

Most of the benches had already been taken up by unfamiliar villagers—employees, explained Zjing, of the novelty wedding costume shop, who were there to ensure that their requirements would be met. The meeting then began with an extraordinarily dull presentation about tailoring, during which many of the monks and nuns could be seen nodding off.

After the final slide the villagers were excused. When the last of them had gone, Zjing brought forth a lantern from behind the podium, and without a word she set the huge rice paper projection screen on fire. Flames climbed swiftly and spread across the dry ceiling timbers; heat seared the air; smoke billowed forth; monks coughed or cried out; the fire alarm clanged; then somewhere overhead the sprinkers came to life and began gushing water ineffectively on the scene of pandemonium below. It was only then—as the occupants rose to flee in four different directions to the four exit doors—that they discovered that their robes had been swiftly and skillfully sewn to the robes of their neighbors.

* Usually these were mandated by the HR department, and included yearly refresher courses like: “First Aid For Accidental Injuries”, “First Aid For Intentional Injuries”, “How to Choose a Comprehensive Life Insurance Plan”, and “The Importance of Good Workplace Morale.”