Re: [Evolution] Issue with formatting of gconf files.

On Thu, 2011-02-03 at 22:02 -0430, Patrick O'Callaghan wrote:
On Thu, 2011-02-03 at 15:04 -0800, les wrote:
With that said, here is a snippet from the gconf stuff for evolution:

Directly from the file:
<?xml version="1.0"?>
<group uid="1162801071 10728 17 localhost localdomain" name="On This
Computer" base_uri="local:" readonly="no"><source
uid="1162801071 10728 18 localhost localdomain" name="Personal"
relative_uri="system"><properties><property name="pilot-sync"
value="true"/><property name="use-in-contacts-calendar"
uid="1163129951 18548 0 localhost localdomain" name="Personal2"
relative_uri="1163129951 18548 0 localhost localdomain"><properties><property name="completion" 
value="true"/><property name="remember_password" value="false"/></properties></source></group>

How many of you can read and understand this bit of code?

I especially dislike the ########## ##### # localhost localdomain
filename.  This has no significance to the job being accomplished.  As
much as I rail against "self documenting code", this is just beyond
useless.  It smacks of trying to use obfuscation for security, which
been proven over and over to not aid security.  Other than that it has
no value, no significance and adds no real value to the process being

Two points here:

1) You seem to think that because this is in text form, it's supposed to
be read by humans. AFAIK it's not. The format is XML as a convenience to
make it portable and easy to parse by machine. The visual layout is
irrelevant (and can be generated by a pretty-printer if it's ever

2) The ########## ##### # localhost localdomain stuff is not meant for
obfuscated "security", but as a way of generating a unique ID (not a
filename as you state). You don't say where this snippet comes from so
it's hard to say, but it looks very similar to the Message-ID header
found in mail messages.


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But unfortunately poc, machines do occasionally screw up, as has
happened with my address book, which is where this code snippet came
from, and then some human has to clean it up, analyze the failure, fix
the problem, confirm that it works, possibly beta test it, get approval
from the team (should one exist) that the code does its correct
operation, and be maintained into the future.  Poor practices, whether
machine readable or human readable are still poor practices.  If the
person responsible were working for me, I have lots of similar examples
I could let him expend his energy on until he or she realized the
problem that this presents.

I do hope that you are putting me on.

Les H

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