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Journal Journal: Data Driven programming

Once upon a time, I had a customer who insisted on a program implementation that was "data driven." He had heard that and was sure that he wanted it. The people he had working for him didn't want to have to maintain any code, so they thought a data driven program sounded like a good idea. Instead of having a hardcoded program, they wanted it to be configurable with text files on the disk, so that if the processing needs changed, they could just change the text files and the data driven processing program would do the right thing. We went around and around about this, not one of my implementations was data driven enough for him. He always could come up with another ludicrous situation which I hadn't anticipated with that data driven scheme.

So, in the end I just gave him an unopened copy of Visual Studio and told him "there's your goddamn data driven program." He said what? I told him that it's a data driven program, and by corectly modifying the textfiles on the disk the data driven program would always be able to do the right thing. I put the bill for $800,000 on his desk and walked out the door.

"Confound these ancestors.... They've stolen our best ideas!" - Ben Jonson