Monday, 15 March 2010

So this is progress ?

Another day and another Farmville bug. For those of you not been hooked into this game it's on Facebook and has 75 million players a month ( more than the population of France). As a social gaming phenomenon it's worth looking at just to see how and why it has become so huge ( that's my excuse anyway )

Anyway, for those non-Farmville players, the game has a facility where you visit neighbours farms and 'fertilise' their crops. As you do so a progress bar appears that indicated the percentage of fertilisation done - it usually happens so fast that you dont notice it. However, as I have the tester DNA I got the progress bar to go way over the 100% limit as you can see from the extended green bar in the screenshot above.

Nothing too remarkable about this defect. However it brought back memories for me of my programming days and a function I wrote 20 years ago. It was for a book pagination program and needed a status bar to show how much each area on a page had been adjusted. The adjustment range went from 0-100% and my function popped up a little bar coloured red if more than 50% had been adjusted, green if less than 50%. It involved a nasty little hack into some Mac assembler code but I got it working. Until that is some of the other programmers on the team ( no devoted test team in those days ) tried it out and found places where the bar would zoom way past 100% and extend to the edge of the screen

Twenty years on and still progammers are struggling to get a progress bar to stop at 100%....
( and at least MY defect was caught before the program went live )

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