How to understand someone else's code.

I originally posted this in a Slack channel. Note: User’s experience may vary. Use at your own risk. This process has been tested, however, not every codebase may be compatible. You’ll find out relatively quickly.

1) Buy candles. lots of candles. Make sure they’re many colours, but a preference for black and red

2) Draw pentagram on floor.

3) Place your statue of Baphomet in the center.

4) Sit at a point. Place your computer on the point directly in front of you.. Excepting the point farthest from you, on each other point, put a reference manual related to the language and/or problem. Make sure they’re up to date (if you use an old copy, this may alter the answers)

5) On the point farthest from you, place 2 gold coins. These are needed for the passage


7) Hit the ceremonial gong 3 times

8) At this point, Baphomet should grow, and its face should contort into that of Larry Wall. Do not fear Larry Wall. He serves forever as the ferryman of the damned programmers as penance for creating Perl. (note, this is a rotating position. If someone other than Larry Wall has appeared, please consult this page for updates.)

9) Ask Larry Wall your question. He will take your 2 gold coins. Do not take Larry Qall’s hand! It is a trick to pull you into Perland, an unholy world of regex and unreadable code.

10) Larry will disappear in a puff of smoke.

11) A customized Opera browser will be opened. The start-up sound is from Gounod’s Faust. If you hear any other start-up sound, such as the opening of Boito’s Mephisofele, hit the ceremonial gong in the rhythm of the first line of Rued Langaard’s Antikrist. That should reboot the browser into Infernal mode.

12) A pentagram will appear shortly. Then a LMGTFYOTD (let me google that for you of the damned) tab will open, and your question will be slowly typed in. There may or may not be typos, depending on the transcriber (of the damned).

13) It looks like it’s Googling, but don’t be fooled. It’s hooked up to a variety of security and static analysis programs (of the damned…like Black Duck. Or Coverity. Except probably easier to install.).

14) A manual will begin to print from your dot matrix printer. Do Not Be Alarmed. Even if your printer wasn’t plugged in, or connected to your computer, it’ll happen. If you don’t have a dot matrix printer, it may print on another printer, but, well…it just won’t be the same. Sometimes They even bring their own dot matrix printer (of the damned).

15) The manual will be mostly complete. Hey, there’s only so much even the damned can do.

16) If you contribute back to the github page, you get your 2 cold coins back. Larry Wall places them under your pillow the night after you contribute. Do not open your eyes when you hear the soft humming.

Tags: blog software dev