Wednesday, January 24

Danger0us Pr0xim!ty

I recently returned from a consulting engagement in Seattle and traded banter with release engineers about "nightmare builds." I've had these same discussions with other companies and it's interesting how keyboard proximity is notorious for wrecking havoc during various software release situations. At a previous job, I personally recall a failed production deployment caused by mispeling "prod" as "pr0d" (zero) in a config file. That little midnight gem resulted in a 4-hour, 20+ person conf call that lasted until 4am. And, yes, I happened to be on vacation when I received that critical page. ugh.

Here are some pairings of keystrokes with close proximity that can easily become problematic:

  • 0 / o -- Setting variable to 'pr0d instead of 'prod'
  • 1 / ! -- Meant the bang but shift-key didn't depress
  • E / 3 -- dislexia at 2am
  • = / == -- Testing a runtime condition only to "set" it
  • - / = -- dislexia at 2am
  • l / | -- meant pipe, got 'el' on return to homerow
  • : / ; -- shift didn't depress

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