Wednesday, 10 August 2011

T-SQL: Beware the hardcoded switch

This months T-SQL Tuesday is brought to us by Adam Machanic (Blog|Twitter) - and as is his right, has chosen to go for Wednesday rather than Tuesday just to keep everyone on their toes. The subject is around c**p code, something which we're all guilty of in some form of another either as a result of laziness or lack of knowledge.

My contribution is fairly short and sweet today and something I'm often guilty of: The hardcoded lookup value embedded within a Stored Procedure or Function to control logic. You'll have seen this before (certainly if you've ever worked with me!)

IF @TheIDOfThisPerson = 15
EXEC dbo.UseThisStoredProcedure

I often do this as a "temporary" hack to test some code or demonstrate a proof of concept, but it shouldn't come as a surprise to me when this finds its way into production. Fortunately, its been rare when the issue has caught me out in any serious way but I often find myself fixing stuff in a test environment after promoting code through the Development tiers because the ID values don't match across all servers. There is almost always a better way to achieve this and its often only an extra few clicks on the keyboard but somehow it still creeps into my game and other developers I work with.

I don't think anyone consciously CHOOSES to write something poorly but as we're constantly learning, its an inevitable byproduct. But lets embrace it. Just as long as we don't beat ourselves (or each other) about it, we can use it in a positive way as a learning point. While a developers goal is often to write less code, I prefer to focus on writing less C**P code and I don't think you have to sacrifice one over the other.

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