A WTF or not a WTF? That is the question

  • In my current consultancy contract, my task is to help set up the IT of a complete new bank. I am being told that the core banking solution they already bought and will be using is called Profile. I am also told that said Profile requires a database called GT.M from the Sanchez Computer Association, bought by Fidelity, the maker of Profile, a few years ago.

    I read in the GT.M documentation, as well as in Wikipedia, that the .M part of the name stands for MUMPS and that GT.M effectively is a database for MUMPS.

    After having read several stories about MUMPS right here on this site, I wonder if Profile is one huge WTF or not. Does anybody have experience with it and can say anything about it? So far, I smell a WTF when I see MUMPS, but maybe I'm wrong (or rather: hopefully I'm wrong).

  • I looked, I saw ... I found the [url=http://www.fidelityinfoservices.com/FNFIS/Markets/NonfinancialIndustries/Healthcare/gtm/]got mumps?[/url] baseball hat (and btw it's officially springtime in the rockies)


  • I don't think MUMPS itself is a WTF, I think trying to use it "creatively" leads to the WTFs we've seen here.  It has some WTF-ish specifications, such as the arbitrary date epoch and no mathematical order of operations, but these shouldn't be too bad to work around, as long as you're aware of them.

    For example in "A Case Of The Mumps", they had a system where:

    @A Case Of The Mumps said:

    All MUMPS code was stored in a Global Array named ^ROUTINES. The only code that existed outside of this array was stored in “Application Startup” codefiles, each containing a single line of code: X(^ROUTINES("XSTARTGB")). The only difference between each file was the last two characters, or, the application identifier.


    That kind of system is a real WTF, but it could just as easily have been implemented in Perl or VBScript.

    And in "Avoiding MUMPS", the only WTF was that the alleged "lead developer" didn't know the difference between compiled and interpreted languages.  More of a business WTF than a technical WTF.

    That said, MUMPs does seem like a language I would learn to hate even more than Visual Basic if I were forced to use it for too long, but if you're just being paid for one stint working with it, I'd say go for it, as it will at least look interesting on your resume.


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