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😱 Falsehoods Programmers Believe in
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Apr 22, 2023
- The weird world of Windows file paths - “On any Unix-derived system, a path is an admirably simple thing: if it starts with a
/, it's a path. Not so on Windows.”
Mar 07, 2023
- What is the Most Minimal UK Address Possible? - The trick is to rely on postcodes, which in the UK are pretty specific and “often identify one or a few specific buildings, unlike countries where a postcode represents an entire neighbourhood”.
- Why doesn't Costa Rica use real addresses? - Costa Rican uses an idiosyncratic system of addresses that relies on landmarks, history and quite a bit of guesswork.
- USPS Postal Addressing Standards - Describes both standardized address formats and content.
Feb 03, 2023
- Falsehoods about Ethereum - Misconceptions and common pitfalls in contract programming.
Jan 12, 2023
- The yaml document from hell - YAML is full of obscure complexity like accidental numbers and non-string keys.
Dec 26, 2022
- Falsehoods about Quantum Technology (⭐0) - Common misconceptions about quantum technology and computers.
Dec 19, 2022
- IDN is crazy - International characters in domain names mean support of homographs and heterographs.
Dec 14, 2022
- The Maddening Mess of Airport Codes - Having multiple international and national agencies trying to reconcile history, practicality and logistics makes codes follow arcane rules.
Dec 11, 2022
- Twenty five thousand dollars of funny money - Same error as above at Google Ads, or the danger of separating your pennies from your dollars, where $250 internal coupons turned into $25,000. My advice: get rid of integers and floats for monetary values. Use decimals. Or fallback to strings and parse them, don't validate.
- Minutiae of company names - How the rules of the State of Delaware and the IRS does not intersects.
Dates and Time
- “I'm going to a commune in Vermont and will deal with no unit of time shorter than a season.” - Is the note left on his terminal by a quitting engineer in the 70s, after too much effort toiling away on sub-second timing concerns. Source: The Soul of a New Machine.
- Falsehoods about Undefined Behavior - Invoking undefined behavior can cause anything to happen, for a much broader definition of "anything" than one might think.
- Facts about State Machines (⭐710) - State machines are often misunderstood and under-applied.
- I am endlessly fascinated with content tagging systems - There are edge-cases even in tagging systems which are suposed to be barebone.
Sep 01, 2022
- Falsehoods about Email - On addresses, content and delivery.
Jun 21, 2022
- Falsehoods about Online Shopping - Covers prices, currencies and inventory.
- Falsehoods about Geography - Takes on places, their names and locations.
- Falsehoods about Plain Text - Plain text can't cut it, which makes Unicode even more incredible for its ability to just work well.
- Falsehoods about text - A subset of the falsehoods from above, illustrated with some examples.
Apr 26, 2022
Dates and Time
- The Long, Painful History of Time - Most of the idiosyncrasies in timekeeping can find an explanation in history.
- How to choose between UT1, TAI and UTC - Depends on your priorities between SI seconds, earth rotation sync, leap seconds avoidance.
- Critical and Significant Dates - From Y2K to the overflow of 32-bit seconds from Unix epoch, a list of special date to watch for depending on the system.
- Rules for Autocomplete - Not falsehoods per se, but still a great list of good practices to implement autocompletion.
Apr 04, 2022
- Horrible edge cases to consider when dealing with music - Music catalogs data are full of crazy stuff.
- MusicBrainz database schema - An open-source project and database that seems to have solved the complexity of music catalog management.
- DDEX - The industry standard for music metadata, including archiving, sound recording, sales and usage reporting, royalties and license deals.
- Apple Music Style Guide - Quality insurance guidelines to format music, art, and metadata to increase discoverability.
Mar 30, 2022
Dates and Time
- Falsehoods about Unix Time - Mind the leap second!
- $26,000 Overcollection by Labor Department - The consequence of wrong calendar accounting.
- XKCD #327: Exploits of a Mom - Funny take on how implementation of a falsehood might lead to security holes.
- Hi! My name is… - This talk could have been named falsehoods about usernames (and other identifiers).
- My name causes an issue with any booking! - Old airline reservation systems considers the
Misterand drops it.
Jan 11, 2022
- CLDR currency definitions (⭐690) - Currency validity date ranges overlap due to revolts, invasions, new constitutions, and slow planned adoption.
Nov 14, 2021
- Falsehoods about Airline Seat Maps - Airline seat maps are far more complex than just neat rows and columns of seats.
Oct 24, 2021
Dates and Time
- RFC-3339 vs ISO-8601 - An giant list of formats from the two standards, how they overlaps, and live examples.
Oct 18, 2021
- What every software engineer should know about search - A better sourced article on the difficulty of implementing search engines.
Oct 08, 2021
- Falsehoods about Package Managers - Covers package and their managers.
Sep 23, 2021
- Falsehoods about REST APIs - Pitfalls to be mindful of when creating and documenting APIs.
Sep 06, 2021
- The Door Problem - All the things you have not considered implementing for your doors in games.
Sep 02, 2021
- Your E-Mail Validation Logic is Wrong - A summary of the various, surprising things that are allowed in an email address.
- I Hate Coordinate Systems - A guide for geospatial practitioners on diagnosing and fixing common issues with coordinate systems.
- Falsehoods about garbage collection - Misconceptions about the predictability and performance of garbage collection.
Jul 03, 2021
- URLs: It's complicated… - There's a lot of components in an URL, and all have their own logic.
Feb 08, 2021
- Falsehoods about Programming - A humbling and fun list on programming and programmers themselves.
- Falsehoods about Falsehoods Lists - Meta commentary on how these falsehoods shouldn't be handled.
- Falsehoods about Music - False assumption that might be made in codifying music.
- Falsehoods about Art - Common misconceptions about art.
- Falsehoods about Prices - Covers currencies, amounts and localization.
- Falsehoods about IBANs (⭐434) - International Bank Account Numbers are not international.
- Falsehoods about Economics - Economics are not simple or rational.
- Falsehoods about Bitcoin (⭐44) - A list of mistaken perspectives on Bitcoin.
Dates and Time
- Falsehoods about Time - Seminal article on dates and time.
- More Falsehoods about Time - Part. 2 of the article above.
- Falsehoods about Time and Time Zones - Another takes on time-related falsehoods, with an emphasis on time zones.
- Critique of Falsehoods about Time - Takes on the first article above and provides an explanation of each falsehood, with more context and external resources.
- Falsehoods about Time Zones - Has some nice points regarding the edge-cases of DST transitions.
- Falsehoods about Maps - Covers coordinates, projection and GIS.
- Falsehoods about Names - The article that started it all.
- Falsehoods about Names – With Examples - A revisited version of the article above, this time with detailed explanations.
- Falsehoods about Biometrics - Fingerprints are not unique.
- Falsehoods about Families - You can't really define a family with strict rules.
- Falsehoods about Me - Issues at the intersection of names and gender and internationalization.
- Falsehoods about Language - Translating a software from English is not as straightforward as it seems to be.
- Falsehoods about Job Applicants - Assumptions about job applicants and their job histories aren't necessarily true.
- Falsehoods about Video - Cover it all: video decoding and playback, files, image scaling, color spaces and conversion, displays and subtitles.
- Falsehoods about Networks - Covers TCP, DHCP, DNS, VLANs and IPv4/v6.
- Falsehoods about Phone Numbers (⭐15k) - Covers phone numbers, their representation and meaning.
- Falsehoods about Addresses - Covers streets, postal codes, buildings, cities and countries.
- Falsehoods about Residence - It's not only about the address itself, but the relationship between a person and its residence.
- Falsehoods about Systems of Measurement - On working with systems of measurement and converting between them.
- Falsehoods about Political Appointments - Designing election systems has its own tricks.
- Falsehoods about Women In Tech - Myth about women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) industries.
- Falsehoods about Versions (⭐65) - Attributing an identity to a software release might be harder than thought.
- Falsehoods about Build Systems - Building software is hard. Building software that builds software is harder.
- Falsehoods about CSVs - While RFC4180 to exists, it is far from definitive and goes largely ignored.
- Falsehoods about Testing - An attempt to establish a list of falsehoods about testing.
- Falsehoods about Search - Why search (including analysis, tokenization, highlighting) is deceptively complex.
- Falsehoods about Pagination - Why your pagination algorithm is giving someone (possibly you) a headache.
- Myths about File Paths - Diversity of file-systems and OSes makes file paths a little harder than we might think of.
- Myths about CPU Caches - Misconceptions about caches often lead to false assertions, especially when it comes to concurrency and race conditions.
- Myths about
/dev/urandom- There are a few things about
/dev/randomthat are repeated again and again. Still they are false.
- Falsehoods about Cars (⭐6) - Even something as common as defining a car is full of pitfalls.
- Falsehoods about Fonts (⭐91) - Assumptions about typography on the web and in desktop applications.
Dec 07, 2020
- Falsehoods Programmers Believe - A brief list of common falsehoods. A great overview and quick introduction into the world of falsehoods.
tax- A PHP 5.4+ tax management library.
Dates and Time
- Your Calendrical Fallacy Is Thinking… - List covering intercalation and cultural influence, made by a community of iOS and macOS developers.
- Time Zone Database - Code and data that represent the history of local time for many representative locations around the globe.
- You Advocate a Calendar Reform - Your idea will not work. This article tells you why.
- So You Want to Abolish Time Zones - Abolishing timezones may sound like a good idea, but there are quite a few complications that make it not quite so.
- The Problem with Time & Timezones - A video about why you should never, ever deal with timezones if you can help it.
yyyy, and why your year may be wrong - String formatting of date is hard.
- UTC is Enough for everyone, right? - There are edge cases about dates and time (specifically UTC) that you probably haven't thought of.
- Storing UTC is not a silver bullet - “Just store dates in UTC” is not always the right approach.
- Why is subtracting these two times (in 1927) giving a strange result? - Infamous Stack Overflow answer about both complicated historical timezones, and how historical dates can be re-interpreted by newer versions of software.
- Falsehoods CS Students (Still) Believe Upon Graduating - A list of things (not only) computer science students tend to erroneously and at times surprisingly believe even though they (probably) should know better.
- I Knew How to Validate an Email Address Until I Read the RFC - Provides intricate examples that are unsuspected valid email addresses according the RFC-822.
- So you think you can validate email addresses (FOSDEM 2018) - Presentation of edge-case email addresses and why you should not use regex to parse them.
- Top 5 most insane kanji place names in Japan - “There's one special group of kanji that's hard even for Japanese people to read: place names.”
- Gay Marriage: The Database Engineering Perspective - How to store a marriage in a database while addressing most of the falsehoods about gender, naming and relationships.
- Personal Names Around the World - How do people's names differ around the world, and what are the implications for the Web?
- Hello, I'm Mr. Null. My Name Makes Me Invisible to Computers - Real-life example on how implemented falsehood has negative impact on someone's life.
- HL7 v3 RIM - A flexible data model for representing human names.
- Apple iOS
NSPersonNameComponentsFormatter- Localized representations of the components of a person's name.
- Internationalis(z)ing Code - A video about things you need to keep in mind when internationalizing your code.
- Minimum to Know About Unicode and Character Sets - A good introduction to unicode, its historical context and origins, followed by an overview of its inner working.
- Awesome Unicode (⭐839) - A curated list of delightful Unicode tidbits, packages and resources.
- Dark corners of Unicode - Unicode is extensive, here be dragons.
- Let's Stop Ascribing Meaning to Code Points - Dives deeper in Unicode and dispels myths about code points.
- Breaking Our
Latin-1Assumptions - Most programmers spend so much time with
Latin-1they forgets about other's scripts quirks.
- Ode to a shipping label - Character encoding is hard, more so when each broken layer of data input adds its own spice.
- i18n Testing Data (⭐63) - Compilation of real-word international and diverse name data for unit testing and QA.
- Big List of Naughty Strings (⭐45k) - A huge corpus of strings which have a high probability of causing issues when used as user-input data. A must have set of practical edge-cases to test your software against.
- Fallacies of Distributed Computing - Assumptions that programmers new to distributed applications invariably make.
- There's more than one way to write an IP address - Some parts of the address are optional, mind the decimal and octal notations, and don't forget IPv6 either.
hostname-validate- An attempt to validate hostnames in Python.
- Letter Delivered Despite No Name, No Address - Ultimate falsehood about postal addresses: you do not need one.
- The Bear with Its Own ZIP Code - Smokey Bear has his own ZIP Code (
20252) because he gets so much mail.
- Regex and Postal Addresses - Why regular expressions and street addresses do not mix.
libaddressinput- Google's common C++ and Java library for parsing, formatting, and validating international postal addresses.
addressing- A PHP 5.4+ addressing library, powered by Google's dataset.
postal-address- Python module to parse, normalize and render postal addresses.
address- Go library to validate and format addresses using Google's dataset.
- Popular misconceptions about
mtime- Part of a post on why file's
mtimecomparison could be considered harmful.
- Floating Point Math - “Your language isn't broken, it's doing floating point math. (…) This is why, more often than not,
0.1 + 0.2 != 0.3.”
- Truths programmers should know about case - A complete reverse of the falsehoods format, on the topic of case (as in uppercase and lowercase text).
Nov 11, 2020
- Parsing the Infamous Japanese Postal CSV - “I saw many horrors, but I've never seen this particular formatting choice anywhere else.”
Oct 28, 2020
>in company names lead to XSS attacks - Because UK allows companies to be registered with special characters, a hacker leveraged them to register
\"><SCRIPT SRC=MJT.XSS.HT></SCRIPT> LTD, but also
; DROP TABLE "COMPANIES";-- LTD,
BETTS & TWINE LTDand
SAFDASD & SFSAF \' SFDAASF\" LTD.
Aug 06, 2020
- Decimal Point Error in Etsy's Accounting System - The importance of types in accounting software: missing the decimal point ends up with 100x over-charges.
Feb 13, 2020
- The Hidden Complexity of Downloading Favicons, Told in 15+ Edge Cases - Downloading that little icon you see in you browser tabs should be a simple exercise. It turned out to be a lot more complicated than you think. Be vigilant that you are not shaving a Yak.
Jan 21, 2020
- Postdoc myths - “Lots of things are said, written and believed about postdoctoral researchers that are simply not true.”