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Storming the Cubicle

By George V. Neville-Neil

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 58 No. 10, Pages 29-31

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Dear KV,

I just signed on to a new project and started watching commits on the project's GitLab. While many of the commits seem rational, I noticed one of the developers was first committing large chunks of code and then following up by commenting out small bits of the file, with the commit message "Silence warning." No one else seemed to notice or comment on this, so I decided to ask the developer what kinds of warnings were being silenced. The reply was equally obscure—"Oh, it's just the compiler not understanding the code properly." I decided to run a small test of my own, and I checked out a version of the code without the lines commented out, and ran it through the build system. Each and every warning actually made quite a bit of sense. Since I'm new to the project, I didn't want to go storming into this person's cubicle to demand he fix the warnings, but I was also confused by why he might think this was a proper way to work. Do developers often work around warnings or other errors in this way?

Forewarned If Not Forearmed


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