We support a system we inherited from another company, it’s an online document store for technical specifications of electronic devices used by loads of people.

This thing is the biggest pile of shite I’ve ever seen, it wasn’t written by developers but rather by civil engineers who could write vb...so needless to say it’s classic asp running on iis, but it’s not only written in vbscript oh god no, some of it is vb other parts is jscript (Microsoft’s janky old JavaScript implementation) and the rest is php.

When we first inherited it we spent the best part of 2 months fixing security vulnerabilities before we were willing to put it near the internet - to this day I remain convinced the only reason it was never hacked is that everything scanning it thought it was a honeypot.

We’ve told the client that this thing needs put out of its misery but they insist on keeping it going. Whenever anything goes wrong it falls to me and it ends up taking me days to work out what’s happening with it. So far the only way I’ve worked out how to debug it is to start doing “Response.AddHeader(‘debug’, ‘<thing>’) on the production site and looking at the header responses in the browser.
I feel dirty doing that but it works so I don’t really care at this point

FUCK I hate this thing!

  • 7
    "to this day I remain convinced the only reason it was never hacked is that everything scanning it thought it was a honeypot."

    You thought you were just ranting but instead you gave us an incredible life hack!
  • 3
    Maybe if you ideate some improved user facing features and get together with a ux designer to make a quick andn dirty www.framer.com prototype with live data. You could pitch and test it to those who use this documentation tool. In order to win over the higher ups.

    It's important to stress the benefits to the user and especially the opportunity costs to management in numbers. Opportunity cost is lost money. for example:
    "If we continue to use our legacy documentation software we loose x amount of money this year because of high maintenance costs (x$) and security riscs (potential big GDPR fine). With this new shiney tool we will be able to be compliant with x regulation and the user will be able to task x 30% faster. Which leads to an increase in x amount of efficiency which will lead to an x$ amount of profit this year."

    Here some useful knowledge to use to convince managers.

    Loss aversion - Wikipedia:, refers to people's tendency to prefer avoiding losses to gaines

    Opportunity cost - Wikipedia

    Also think on how loss aversion is at play here. Your client don't want to loose what he has (to be used on the pile of shit) even if he knows the new solution would be better.
  • 1
    @heyheni actually not a bad shout need to get some time to poc something
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