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August 13, 2009

Bad programming?

Filed under: Commentary,World Wide Web — Bob @ 6:04 pm

walmart smallI was looking for something on walmart.com this morning. I don’t particularly want to shop at Walmart (I personally think it is a very bad idea to economically support Walmart) but I was looking for an example of 1/4″ automotive pinstripe tape to send to someone via email, and it seemed the big-box-store sites might have what I was looking for. They don’t have it, at least not on their website. I struck out at other places too, seems this kind of product is too trivial to put onto a website. Oh well.

Then I noticed the upper right corner of the walmart.com page containing the message “Welcome back, null. Not null?” (have a look at the picture I included above, and click the picture to see the full size version). This amused me and also reinforced the notion that programming is somewhat hard. The details matter. Or at least they should. Apparently not at Walmart though. You see, “null” is a value that is is programmer-speak for “no value available.” The programmers who create the walmart.com website apparently aren’t clever enough to test for this condition and respond appropriately. Dumb.

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