10 Cringeworthy Things Developers Hear

1. I think I’ve changed my mind about…#

An idea is accepted, it’s spec-ed up, sent to the developers to work on and once the work is done and the final piece is shown — then someone adds ‘can you just change that bit?’ or ‘I’m not so sure anymore about this bit’. This is a prime reason why agile methodologies are in such common use today, conversations like these get caught as early as possible, but they’re still painful to hear.

2. I’m using IE8#

There’s no excuse in these times not to be using a ‘modern’ browser, whether that’s a more up-to-date version of Internet Explorer, Chrome or Firefox. If a project does need to work on IE8, make sure it’s explicitly mentioned at the beginning of the project. Telling them about browsehappy.com is often the easiest solution to this.

3. Could you get that done by this afternoon?#

No – I can’t. Unless it’s a very small problem and you have a free afternoon, the answer is generally no, these things take time to do well and can’t always be done in an afternoon.


4. I’d like it to be made with CSS3, jQuery, HTML5, Ruby, Angular and Elvish-Magic#

Developers should be keeping up with the latest technologies available and they’re often the best judges as to whether a particular language or setup should be used over another. If you’re not a ‘techy’ don’t over specify how it should be built as you’ll constrain the developer working on the project. If they ask for too much, tell them you’ll use HTML9 Responsive Bootstrap JS.

5. Do the work and I’ll give you a cut of the profits#

This card is played a lot at freelancers just starting out and students alike, someone with a ‘great’ idea approaches you and wants something made because it’ll make them and you ‘rich’ instantly but they don’t want to pay for it, they just promoise to give you a cut of the profits when it is a success. These sorts of deals are usually best kept far away.

6. Your Internet won’t be connected for another 5 weeks#

This one’s personal – the net is important to me and my work and living without it is tricky. This is just a general nightmare of living without internet and working from cafes.

What's your password

7. My password is password#

Firstly, don’t tell me your password. Secondly, and more importantly, keep it more securely than password, or test, or 123456. It’s often not any more difficult to remember either. Although passwords with numbers and capitals are more secure, it’s important to note that length plays an important role – as pointed out by xkcd.

8. Another zero-day bug has been found#

Less of a problem when dealing with clients, more of a problem with technology in general – and sysadmins will know this feeling well – when a bug is found in a library or technology your project is using. Sometimes it’s out of your control to fix, sometimes it’s a case of having to up date many of your systems – but with confused clients contacting you, this isn’t an easy day at the office. An example of this happening recently is the Heartbleed bug.

9. Could I put a counter at the bottom of that page?#

This is an old one, but still happens from time to time. When a client asks to put a counter on their website, a developer is usually resigned to just sigh and take a deep breath.

10. StackOverflow.com is Down#

Life just became a little more difficult, you must now use the documentation and your brain to solve a problem. This doesn’t happen often, but did back in Feb ’14.