Similes for quality of computer code

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I must admit to having enjoyed the series of savage similes about quality of computer program code presented in three xkcd comic strips. They show a female character, known to aficionados as Ponytail, reluctantly agreeing to take a critical look at some code that the male character Cueball has written. Almost at first sight, she begins to describe it using utterly brutal similes. In the first strip (at she announces that reading it is "like being in a house built by a child using nothing but a hatchet and a picture of a house." But Ponytail is not done: there is more bile and contempt where that came from.

In the same strip she goes on to describe the code as

  • like a salad recipe written by a corporate lawyer using a phone autocorrect that only knew Excel formulas, and
  • like someone took a transcript of a couple arguing at IKEA and made random edits until it compiled without errors.

The theme returns in a later strip, number 1695, where she examines more code and declares that it looks

  • like you ran OCR on a photo of a Scrabble board from a game where JavaScript reserved words counted for triple points; it
  • looks like someone transcribed a naval weather forecast while woodpeckers hammered their shift keys, then randomly indented it; it is
  • like an E. E. Cummings poem written using only the usernames a website suggests when the one you want is taken; and it
  • looks like the output of a Markov bot that's been fed bus timetables from a city where the buses crash constantly.

And still the punishment of poor Cueball's programming style continues. In strip number 1833 she describes his code as

  • like song lyrics written using only the stuff that comes after the question mark in a URL;
  • like a JavaScript Object Notation table of model numbers for flashlights with "tactical" in their names;
  • like you read Turing's 1936 paper on computing and a page of JavaScript example code and guessed at everything in between;
  • like a leet-speak translation of a manifesto by a survivalist cult leader who's for some reason obsessed with memory allocation.

And Jim Wisniewski reminds me that there are more insults in the mouseover text for the three strips:

  • I honestly didn't think you could even USE emoji in variable names — or that there were so many different crying ones;
  • it's like you tried to define a formal grammar based on fragments of a raw database dump from the QuickBooks file of a company that's about to collapse in an accounting scandal;
  • it's like a half-solved cryptogram where the solution is a piece of FORTH code written by someone who doesn't know FORTH.

Wonderful, eloquent, cruel rhetoric. I have to admit I'm looking forward to more. But for poor Cueball, experiencing Ponytail's rhetorical abuse must be like shredding your knuckles on an industrial cheese grater and then using lime juice to… No, I just can't find an adequate simile for it.

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