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Thrash metal band Overkill performing live at Party.San Open Metal 2017

Your codez is overkill

Published on Tuesday, 8 June 2021.
At 345 words, this article should take about 2 minutes to read.

Once upon a time, I encountered a bug.

The implementation was for a "View PDF" button: when the user clicks the button, a PDF opens in a new browser tab.

The problem

The code looked a bit like this…

const downloadDocument = (document) =>
new Promise((resolve, reject) => {
return axios.get(
`${ENDPOINT}/${}`, {
headers: {
'Content-Type': 'application/json',
Authorization: AUTH_TOKEN
) => {
if (status !== 200) {
throw new Error(statusText);
return jwt.decode(data);
}).then((response) => {
if (response.responseStatus !== 200) {
throw new Error(
response.errors ?
response.errors[0].message :
}).catch((error) => {
status: 401,
error: error.message,

const webDownload = () => {
.then((response) => {
if (!response || response.responseStatus !== 200)
throw new Error(response);

const {
} = response;

if (!href) throw new Error("No file");

window.location = href;
.catch(() => {
type: "APP_ERROR",
error: "Failed to access the file",


<Icon name="file-download" />

The solution

The actual solution I eventually used was to fix the window.location = href line.

It worked but, later that day, I started thinking that the correct answer would be…

Use a link!

If the criteria are: I click a button and the PDF opens in a new tab.

Then the only code needed is;

title="View file.pdf"
rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer"

View pdf


Sometimes codebases are quagmires of over-engineered code that blinker us to the best solution.

It was all too easy to dive into that convoluted code to find the bug - and it was tricky to figure out what was causing the issue because there was so much code to read.

There's nothing really wrong with the code as it is — it handles errors, authenticates requests, JWT encodes traffic, abstracts the download function so it can be used elsewhere; it's just overkill for I click a button and the PDF opens in a new tab.

There are no bugs in the code you didn't write.

PS: Whatever you do, try to avoid this… 🤣

A JavaScript function that essentially does nothing


Cover image courtesy of Wikipedia.


In almost all cases, the comments section is a vile cesspool of Reply Guys, racists, and bots.

I don't want to have to deal with that kind of hell so I don't have a comments section.

If you want to continue the conversation, you can always hit me up on Mastodon (which is not a vile cesspool of Reply Guys, racists, and bots).

onward-journeys module