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1886 hours to break dev

Today I broke the dev testing environment.

I'm not bothered by it. And you shouldn't be either.

I don't feel any shame in breaking the env, and I apologised to my colleagues for the inconvenience. Fixing simply involved restoring last nights database backup.

Breaking it was my mistake, I uploaded the wrong file to the testing environment and imported various things that were incompatible with it.

It happens to all of us sometimes and we shouldn't be scared of breaking testing environments. They should be easy to revert. I used to be scared of breaking things and it can cause massive problems for other devs.

If the env is full of test data, either back up the database or have some scripts to flood your api and fill it back up (bonus as you get to test the api works at the same time).

I've previously completely destroyed test environments for several teams at once, letting most of the team have a reason to go for an early lunch. It happens, and in some cases was expected to happen due to the nature of changes (deployment flow, significant api changes etc).

It's also really useful to break the dev environment, you learn quickly how to fix it and hopefully how to avoid making the same error in future or at least minimise the impact of the upcoming changes when it's time to release the changes to the client/public.

There is a lot of confidence that can be gained in breaking an environment, production or testing. Hunting for issues in code can really help you learn a codebase quickly, so don't instantly be put off if you start a new job and the code looks huge or you end up fixing bugs. As you fix the bugs and learn the codebase you gain confidence with it. With that you can then make changes and most importantly, you know where to look to fix new bugs.

So why the 1886? Why hours?

It's been a while since I broke an environment, especially where it affected other developers. I managed probably 1886 hours since I last broke a dev environment. It sounds exact but at my previous job I broke something almost daily and a lot of the time no-one even noticed. The issue was fixed before anyone else found it or before it rolled out to thier environment.

Sometimes I've redeployed infrastructure and broken dev environments several times in one day. I could tell when it broke as people would start appearing at my desk waiting patiently for me to finish what I was doing, and the slack notifications would build up.

Don't cave to the pressure (even if typing with people behind you makes you screw up), you can probably can fix it, and if you can't, you can learn a hell of a lot working with someone who can fix it.

Have you broken an environment? Did it affect lots of people? Did you manage to fix it?

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