India and the story of the fantastic filenames (and more!)


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Somewhere along the line, I've become the resident Unfortunate Bastard that maintains all the interop with an application developed by another group. This group consists of two Indians in the office next door and a massive offshore Indian team.

    So Team India needs to take some PDFs we gave them with another process, package them up and ship them off to a third team's service. I'm not entirely sure how, but this got twisted around to the point where Team India is going to drop the PDFs we just gave them, plus a metadata file out on a network share, I'm going to pick it up, throw away records that should never have been included in the metadata, twist it around into the format the third team wants and send it off. I shouldn't even be involved in this process. They should read the fucking file spec and do it themselves.

    "Could you please zip those files up before you dump them on the share? So I can make sure I get everything." I ask.

    "We have Winzip EXE on the server hang processes when we use it." I get back in reply. Their thing is written in Classic ASP, by the way. No reason to be calling out to shell commands to do something like that, much less goddamn INTERACTIVE GUI APPLICATIONS. Cash-money says it's hanging on the nagware screen.

    So naturally, I'm not getting my zip file because I'm not going to teach India how to fucking program (and also because I'm not going to teach myself Classic ASP). This adds all sorts of layers of complexity to my program because I now have to detect and handle partial-pickups. Fine. Whatever. It's stupid, but not the end of the world.

     These PDFs they're sending me have spaces in their filenames (I don't put the spaces there - they don't have filenames when they leave my server the first time - they're just HTTP streams). But for some absolutely bizarre reason, these spaces are not actually spaces. They're replaced by a 6-character string that simply MEANS " " to their application. Perhaps they're unaware filesystems support whitespace? Or perhaps some underlying database of their... Wait, no. Everything they do is flat file.But they wanted to use Winzip... That must mean they're doing a bunch of things (I'd wager even basic file operations) by calling out to the shell, and they don't know how to escape whitespace.

    So I'm looking at the sample metadata file and notice something peculiar. A bunch of records all share the same PDF filename. I check with Team India. This is correct. "That is filename itis generate with". I don't even know what the fuck that means, except that I now need to explain to them that multiple files with the same name can't occupy the same directory and that, even if they could, I kind of need to be able to tell them apart. Unfortunately I can't just make due and program around this bit of stupid.

     

     

    Weep for me.



  • I'll commence weeping as soon as you tell what what the six-character string is.



    Is it "SPAACE" ?



    Or maybe "BOLLOX" ?



  • @Weng said:

    "We have Winzip EXE on the server hang processes when we use it." I get back in reply. Their thing is written in Classic ASP, by the way. No reason to be calling out to shell commands to do something like that, much less goddamn INTERACTIVE GUI APPLICATIONS. Cash-money says it's hanging on the nagware screen.

    [ . . . ] 

    A bunch of records all share the same PDF filename.

    So it might not be the nagware screen, it might be the "This file already exists.. Replace?" dialog. 

    @Weng said:

    Weep for me.

    You have my sympathy.



  • @superjer said:

    I'll commence weeping as soon as you tell what what the six-character string is.



    Is it "SPAACE" ?



    Or maybe "BOLLOX" ?

    Or maybe "\u0020"?

     



  • @Weng said:

    Their thing is written in Classic ASP, by the way.
    I remember coding in that at uni. You know how PHP is everyone's favourite punching bag? Well, it's about an order of magnitude better than that obsolete crap. @Weng said:
    I'm not going to teach myself Classic ASP
    Best decision you made this month.@Weng said:
    We have Winzip EXE on the server hang processes when we use it <snip> these spaces are not actually spaces. They're replaced by a 6-character string that simply MEANS " " <snip> I now need to explain to them that multiple files with the same name
    can't occupy the same directory and that, even if they could, I kind of
    need to be able to tell them apart.
    You have my condolences.

     



  • @Weng said:

    "We have Winzip EXE on the server hang processes when we use it."

    Tell them to use 7z.exe



  • @DaveK said:

    Or maybe "\u0020"?

    Nah. Classic ASP means Windows, and Windows doesn't like \ in filenames.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @superjer said:

    I'll commence weeping as soon as you tell what what the six-character string is.



    Is it "SPAACE" ?



    Or maybe "BOLLOX" ?
    The little tiny part of me that actually cares about getting a paycheck refuses to let me tell you because it's very distinctive and doesn't appear anywhere else on the internets. It also manages to feature a big flag telling you where I work. Think "stock ticker" significant. 


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @DaveK said:

    Or maybe "\u0020"?
    Haha unicode! That's funny. We don't do unicode. Instead, we map code pages into the ASCII space and craft ASCII-space fonts with the appropriate characters.There's actually somewhat of a technical reason for that, but it went out of date at least a decade ago.



  • @Weng said:

    @superjer said:

    I'll commence weeping as soon as you tell what what the six-character string is.



    Is it "SPAACE" ?



    Or maybe "BOLLOX" ?

    ... It also manages to feature a big flag telling you where I work. Think "stock ticker" significant. 



    MSFT_S?



  •  Quite possibly &nbsp;. Just a guess, judging from the fact that it's a web app (presumably, since it's written in classic ASP).That's the standard HTML character code for a non-breaking space, so it makes some sort of bizarre, twisted, illogical sense that they might use it.



  • I definitely believe your story because I've experienced customers showing that amount of stupidity.

    However, I can't for the live of me figure out how anybody that technically incompetent (same filename thing etc) manages to even use a computer, let alone develop software for it.



  • @orange_robot said:

    MSFT_S?
    VIRTUD(YNE)


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Kharel said:

     Quite possibly &nbsp;. Just a guess, judging from the fact that it's a web app (presumably, since it's written in classic ASP).That's the standard HTML character code for a non-breaking space, so it makes some sort of bizarre, twisted, illogical sense that they might use it.

    If only it made that much sense.



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @orange_robot said:
    MSFT_S?
    VIRTUD(YNE)
    NAGESH



  • @Scarlet Manuka said:

    NAGESH

    +10.



  • @pjt33 said:

    @DaveK said:
    Or maybe "\u0020"?

    Nah. Classic ASP means Windows, and Windows doesn't like \ in filenames.

    "U+0020"?



  • @heterodox said:

    @Scarlet Manuka said:

    NAGESH

    +10.

    +11



  • @Weng said:

    Somewhere along the line, I've become the resident Unfortunate Bastard that maintains all the interop with an application developed by another group. This group consists of two Indians in the office next door and a massive offshore Indian team.

    So Team India needs to take some PDFs we gave them with another process, package them up and ship them off to a third team's service. I'm not entirely sure how, but this got twisted around to the point where Team India is going to drop the PDFs we just gave them, plus a metadata file out on a network share, I'm going to pick it up, throw away records that should never have been included in the metadata, twist it around into the format the third team wants and send it off. I shouldn't even be involved in this process. They should read the fucking file spec and do it themselves.

    "Could you please zip those files up before you dump them on the share? So I can make sure I get everything." I ask.

    "We have Winzip EXE on the server hang processes when we use it." I get back in reply. Their thing is written in Classic ASP, by the way. No reason to be calling out to shell commands to do something like that, much less goddamn INTERACTIVE GUI APPLICATIONS. Cash-money says it's hanging on the nagware screen.

    So naturally, I'm not getting my zip file because I'm not going to teach India how to fucking program (and also because I'm not going to teach myself Classic ASP). This adds all sorts of layers of complexity to my program because I now have to detect and handle partial-pickups. Fine. Whatever. It's stupid, but not the end of the world.

     These PDFs they're sending me have spaces in their filenames (I don't put the spaces there - they don't have filenames when they leave my server the first time - they're just HTTP streams). But for some absolutely bizarre reason, these spaces are not actually spaces. They're replaced by a 6-character string that simply MEANS " " to their application. Perhaps they're unaware filesystems support whitespace? Or perhaps some underlying database of their... Wait, no. Everything they do is flat file.But they wanted to use Winzip... That must mean they're doing a bunch of things (I'd wager even basic file operations) by calling out to the shell, and they don't know how to escape whitespace.

    So I'm looking at the sample metadata file and notice something peculiar. A bunch of records all share the same PDF filename. I check with Team India. This is correct. "That is filename itis generate with". I don't even know what the fuck that means, except that I now need to explain to them that multiple files with the same name can't occupy the same directory and that, even if they could, I kind of need to be able to tell them apart. Unfortunately I can't just make due and program around this bit of stupid.

     

     

    Weep for me.

    You are coming across as some kind of winer.[b] if you is smart, you can eliminete self from process [/b]and tell Team India to do the entire thing for you.
    Tell them that is what compeny is paying them for. Stop wining and get back to work!



  • @Nagesh said:

    You are coming across as some kind of winero.

    FTFY


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @boomzilla said:

    @Nagesh said:
    You are coming across as some kind of winero.

    FTFY
    I can't help it if this job drives me to drink like a fish.

     

    In other news, I've never been so overjoyed at any revelation until I heard that the Team India product is officially legacy-as-fuck and is being superceded, and no further clients will be brought on board. Of course, I'm the only official support for one of the two customers who will remain on it for the forseeable future.


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