Room 8 

16:20 - 17:20 


Talk (60 min)

My Worst Code Was My Best Code

"Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand." --Norm Kerth, Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Review

Programming Languages

Sometimes this means we produce some bizarre code, some of our worst code, either through lack of knowledge or understanding, or due to the time constraints we were given.

But some of that worst code, ends up being some of our best code, in that it exceled at what it was required to do, solved problems that weren't even envisaged and was ultimately successful.

Liam will take a meander through some past projects that appeared reasonable at the time, but now seem pretty mad ideas

* macros in Windows 3.1 to make Corel Draw into a weather map creation system
* running a UK general election at Sky News in VB6 pause and continue
* creating a database cache on top of an Access MDB file
* abusing the HTML DOM for a ticketing system
* using the file system as a messaging queue for ingesting the back catalogue of EMI, Warner Music Group and Sony Records

At some point you will find yourself writing some of your worst code, but can take comfort in that it might also be some of your best code.

Just not something you would put on your CV.

Liam Westley

Liam Westley is Head of Engineering at FreemarketFX, a fintech startup specializing in foreign currency trading, with a cloud native platform in Azure. He quite likes working near London Bridge as there is some fantastic food and coffee to be had within a few minutes walk.

Previous to FreemarketFX, Liam worked at Huddle just down the road in Aldgate helping the mobile and desktop teams create apps to play nicely with microservices. At Criteria MX, a digital media startup he worked as a consultant via his own company Tiger Computer Services Ltd, specialising in software for Broadcast Television. His Niagara SMS moderation system was used by QVC UK for eight years to display SMS messages from viewers, live, on screen. Liam is also responsible for the ticketing system for Hat Trick Productions which provides e-tickets to shows such as Have I Got News For You and Room 101.

Liam has worked for chellomedia, GMTV, BSkyB, SmashedAtom and Original Thinking Group. In his time he created the first in house weather system for Sky News using Visual Basic 1.0, acted as architect for two general election systems, project managed the launch of the GMTV web site, was key to delivering the first interactive television chat service in the UK for BSkyB and helped launch the first live shopping channels in the Netherlands.