This terrible affliction affects a wide range of otherwise healthy, dedicated, diligent developers.
The symptoms are simple to spot – some shoddy Excel/VBA monster tacked on the end of a super highly refined, mega abstrated, meta meta program work of digital art.
Their inheritance hierarchy is 10 levels deep, their UML designs fill 2 walls of the nearest office, Their code is pure joy to behold, a breeze to debug, and eminently extendable. Well most of it.
Because on this coding masterpiece, like an unwelcome carbunkle in an unspeakable place, they have grafted a tatty, pure amateur hour Excel VBA front end. The grid is big, impossible to audit mega formulas scattered randomly, the formatting burns your eyes, the VBA is 10 pages of macro recorder spew. ‘Its Just Excel’ it doesn’t matter.
A few people have contacted me separately about this issue recently. Rob sent me a link to a SQL Server article with tons of highly polished T-SQL feeding into a macro recorder abomination. I’ve also see it on projects I’ve worked on where the devs seem to have given up all quality requirements for the last step. I’ve seen big iron consultants insist on turning Option Explicit off to ‘make things easy’, on big, serious enterprise reporting apps.
Have you seen examples of this Just Excel Syndrome, at work? on line? in books?
I know most people are familar with Excel, is it this familiarity that feeds this complacency?
Other thoughts as to what causes it? Ideas on how to address it?