September 23rd, 2010

That's Embarrassing

So a few days ago, my boss asked me if I could take on a rush project here at work that needs to be completed by next week. It didn't look too bad, so I said, "Sure!"

Big mistake.

In order to run our server application, I apparently need to download over eight gigabytes of installable software to get my machine configured correctly. That download has been running since 6 PM last night and may finish soon. It's not clear that my machine will actually survive the installation process -- the last time that the installer failed on my backup machine, I was told that I might as well just go ahead and rebuild the machine from scratch, because no one would figure out why the installation failed in my particular configuration.

(In defense of that particular decision, they were right. After I spent a couple of days rebuilding the box, the installation worked. It still seems excessive.)

And then, I dug into our source code. And while I had worked with parts of this particular problem before, I wasn't the one who had coded any of the pieces that would actually need to be changed to fix this. I could probably dig through that.

Except that I would need to write a new transaction to interact with our server so that we could actually do what was needed.

I've never written a server transaction before. And it doesn't look like there's any documentation on how to do it. And the code is, well, just a bit opaque. I know in general what it's trying to do, but this is brutal.

So I called my boss and admitted that he would really be better off giving this particular project to someone else.

If the deadline weren't so tight, I'd hack through this. But trying to pick up all of this with no time is just asking for trouble.