Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lazy programmers

I recently accessed the on-line customer service for the Des Moines Register. Part of that process has you register your account number. Here's the message I got on the field to enter your account number:
(You can find your account number on your invoice or call customer service at 1-877-424-0225. You must drop all beginning zeros and include the 'DM'. For example DM00012345 becomes DM12345.)
Exactly how difficult would it be to write an algorithm that would add the DM if I forgot? Or drop the leading zeros?

The DM Register is hardly alone. Many sites ask you to enter your credit card number, but without spaces. Stripping spaces takes only 1 to 2 lines of code, depending on the language you are using. If I want to enter spaces with my credit card number, don't let that stand in the way of my spending money at your web site.