..in mankind that is. Well at least in developer-kind. After Friday's travails with that awful code, I was beginning to think it was impossible to pick up someone else's code and run with it. Well, today I was messing around with expression parsing and evaluation, and asked a question on stack overflow regarding the subject. One of the answers was from Barry Kelly, who works for Codegear on the compiler team. (maybe he IS the compiler team, I don't know) More often than not, it's Barry who answers my questions, I don't know why I don't just ask him for his phone number. Anyway, he pointed me in the direction of the Jedi Code Library and more specifically the JclExprEval unit. Apparently he wrote this a few years ago. It's everything that the code I was struggling with on Friday was not. It's will written, simple to read and understand, even though there is no documentation. Very easy to use, and should I ever need to debug it, I'm sure I'd have no problems. I can understand exactly what the developer had in mind, and can use it as is, or take away what I need with very little effort.
It's not always easy to describe what makes good code and what makes bad code. The thing is though, you always know good code from bad as soon as you see it. You also can tell so much about the developer who wrote it even though you've never met him or her.