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Photography of Alvaro Montoro being a doofus
Alvaro Montoro

Cross-Stitcher

What hacky dev workarounds have you done before?

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TL;DR version: What are some examples of hacky dev workarounds that you have used to speed up a feature release? Do you prepare your website/app for unexpected features and how?


Long version:

Like many people around the world, we are quarantined at home and we were looking at pick-up options from different stores. While visiting Target's website, we noticed that many of the products had a warning label "Due to high demand, item may be unavailable or delayed":

Screen capture from a price tag on Target.com with the message "Due to high demand, item may be unavailable or delayed Offer details"

That label seemed suspiciously similar to the promotion/sales label that they normally have. The message even says "Offer details" and when clicked opens a panel with the "offer" information:

Screen capture of the panel that opens when activating the "Offer details" link. The text says: "Offer details: Due to high demand, item may be unavailable or delayed. Expires Apr 30

Target sees the end of coronavirus by April 30th... or maybe they'll extend the offer :)

So out of curiosity, we checked the HTML code and found that that was actually what was going on! The warning message is implemented by marking the product as a promotion:

Screen capture of the HTML code for the "Offer details" link showing class names like PromotionWrapper or offer-details

As a side note: the Target.com site has a bad case of divitis

This seems like an interesting curiosity –and one that doesn't surprise me, to be honest. I can see myself in a meeting discussing the situation with the team: "When will this warning message be ready?", "In one to two days of development", "Add one more day for testing", "And one more for a11y testing!", "Don't forget the deployment and release times", "****! That's too much! We need it now!"... "Hey, how about if we use the offer message instead?"

I can remember reusing components (especially banners) in a hacky way to make them available asap for implementation. The result was not ideal, but they did the trick. Kind of like this Target thing.

When building a website or app (especially e-commerce), do you have something in place for situations like this one? What are some examples of hacky dev workarounds that you have used to speed up a "feature" release?

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