Marketing Weasels Who Write Code

code snippet form a microsoft ad

When I flick through a geeky book I'm more likely to browse the code snippets than the text.

Unfortunately, marketing weasels are aware of this. And hence, you see a lot of dumb ads that use Source Code to hook you in.

The amusing thing, for me anyway is that the code they use is always broken in some way.

Here's the code from a current microsoft ad i saw here:

Public Function ProjectCompletionTime() as String
  If DevTool <> "Visual Studio 2005" Then
    return "Sorry, I'm going to have to cancel tonight"
  Else If DevTool = "Visual Studio 2005" Then
    return "I'll meet you for dinner at 7pm"
  End if
End Function

Okay -- this is probably one of the better pieces of code i've seen in advertising. But there's still about five things wrong with it.

(Continues...)

Firstly -- you'd expect a function called 'ProjectCompletionTime' to return a DateTime. When you inspect the code you find that what it actually returns is a statement about your availability tonight. I'd recommend the function be renamed to 'AvailabilityTonight' -- or 'ExcuseForTheWife'

Secondly, the redundant logic is plain annoying. A C# rendering of this same logic would return the error that 'not all code paths return a value'

Personally, I'd use a 'guard clause' technique to reduce the nesting. I like guard clauses. YMMV.

Public Function ExcuseForTheWife() as String
  If DevTool <> "Visual Studio 2005" Then
    return "Sorry, I'm going to have to cancel tonight"
  End if
    
  return "I'll meet you for dinner at 7pm. You're paying. I blew all my money on Microsoft Tools."
End Function

Also, I wonder where this 'DevTool' variable is declared? And as a variable, I'd prefer to see it in camel case.

Strange too that it's just a string. You'd expect it to be an object, never mind. Let's pass it in as a parameter:

Public Function ExcuseForTheWife(devTool as String) as String
  If devTool <> "Visual Studio 2005" Then
    return "Sorry, I'm going to have to cancel tonight"
  End if
    
  return "I'll meet you for dinner at 7pm. You're paying. I blew all my money on Microsoft Tools."
End Function

Now the real thing that annoys me here is that they're clearly not using Visual Studio as their code editor.

The code does not have syntax highlighting! And the lower case 'as' and 'return' are also a dead give away.

I pasted my snippet into Visual Studio, and copied it back out using 'CopySourceAsHtml' (the excellent plug in from Colin Coller at JtLeigh.com). (I had to apply extra styles to give it a 2005 look... the plug in i have only works in 2003). Here's the result:

Public Function ExcuseForTheWife(ByVal devTool As String) As String

    If devTool <> "Visual Studio 2005" Then

        Return "Sorry, I'm going to have to cancel tonight"

    End If

 

    Return "I'll meet you for dinner at 7pm. You're paying. I blew all my money on Microsoft Tools."

End Function

Finally -- brevity is wit etc. While I do love VB, I think C# would be punchier and less wordy for the ad:

public string ExcuseForTheWife(string devTool) {

    if (devTool == "Visual Studio 2005") {

        return "Meet you at 7 PM!";

    }

    return "Can't make it tonight. Still fixing broken code.";

}

 

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