Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Just because you can - should you?

This is a question that all administrators must ask themselves at any point in time.

I have know quite a few very creative IT folks in my time, and we can all come up with very clever ideas, combinations, and adaptations of technologies.

Part of my role is to question why.  It is actually part of my job.

I frequently come across things I read by folks and I just think to myself, why the heck would you do _that_?  Just because you can? 

When I worked as an administrator I quickly learned the user dictum:  “Because they can, they will”

Yes, this is generally said in a demeaning way, referring to users, when administrators talk to each other, to their managers, or to folks that write software.

I still say this over and over to the developers I work with.  Generally framed with a statement like:  “If you don’t want them to do that..” or “Of course I entered 300 characters into that field” or “there was no error checking to stop me”.

Think about that as you apply technology or attempt to break technology.  It is all about the intent.

Are you intending to break it?  Do you just not know any better / or not understand it?

If you don’t understand it, then read and ask questions.

As a person who tests software – I absolutely say, yes do it.  But do it in a controlled and smart way.  Pay attention to the entire environment, not just the buttons you are clicking on.

It is usually the greater environment where the real bug exists.