I'm working with an old system that uses an obscure language that is mostly dead at this point.

The original programmer did a number of very confusing things (I'm told it was for job security reasons) and trying to grok his original code is incredibly confusing. For example, there is a date function that seems to use 384 days in a year and 32 days in a month (though, I'm not really sure).

What would be a good SE to ask for help in grokking this old, obscure, and confusing code?

  • 7
    Questions on SE sites need to have value for more users then just you. Based on your description I doubt many visitors will find it useful what that code does. That could lead to a negative reception once posted. Theoretically "explain this code for me" can fly on SO but that needs a focussed and specific problem description. If it is old and obscure maybe Retro Computing is an option. I would try a chat room first before starting work on formulating a question for an SE site.
    – rene
    Mar 29 at 17:54
  • @rene yeah that's more or less what I thought. I thought about code golf, since there might be some masochist out there that enjoys solving such a puzzle, but that's not exactly the purpose of code golf.
    – pspahn
    Mar 29 at 18:02
  • 9
    Code Golf is definitely not it. Its chatroom might be worth trying ....
    – rene
    Mar 29 at 18:04
  • 1
    What obscure language? COBOL? Some in-house language? Something else? Mar 30 at 13:52
  • @This_is_NOT_a_forum The language/database system is called Eloquence.
    – pspahn
    Mar 30 at 16:23
  • @Rob I'm not sure a Hebrew leap year is related here, but I can't say without speaking to the guy who originally wrote the code. In this case, dates are stored as days since 1/1/1900 but are calculated by having 384 days a year and 32 days a month. This is for a brick and mortar retail point of sale system.
    – pspahn
    Mar 30 at 16:26
  • 1
    @Rob I meant Eloquence. eloquence.marxmeier.com While I said it was "dead" that's maybe not the best phrasing. It's still used (we use it!) but there's very few developers that know how or are willing to work on it.
    – pspahn
    Mar 30 at 17:07
  • There are at least two questions about Eloquence on SO, you might try your luck there; be certain to follow their requirements for composing a good question. EG: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/261592/…
    – Rob
    Mar 30 at 19:16
  • (From their site: "Eloquence is supported through Marxmeier Software AG and Support partners worldwide. Access to technical support and the right to use the latest product versions requires an appropriate support contract.") Apr 1 at 21:44
  • 384 days sounds like a lunar calendar, like the Islamic calendar, though with 13 lunar cycles rather than 12 lunar cycles (354 days). Each month is about 29 1⁄2 days (the synotic orbital period - 29 d 12 h 44 min 2.9 s (29.530589 days)). Could it be some kind of leap month to align with a solar calendar (like leap years 356/357 in the Julian/Gregorian calendar)? - some years in this calendar would have 12 lunar cycles and others 13 lunar cycles. Apr 1 at 22:04
  • 13 lunar periods is 383.89766 days, which is close enough (off by about 3 hours). Apr 1 at 22:07
  • Somewhat related: International Fixed Calendar. 13 months, but each month is always 28 days (to be divisible by 7 (days in a week)), 1 1/2 day less than the lunar cycle period. The number of days per year is then 364. Apr 1 at 22:15
  • The last one has "a common Hebrew calendar year can have a length of 353, 354 or 355 days, while a leap Hebrew calendar year can have a length of 383, 384 or 385 days." Apr 1 at 22:27


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