Encrypted Store Procedures and Their Effect on my Rug

This is a letter, or a rant, to any ISVs in the world who encrypt their stored procedures. It is, by no means, a condemnation of this horrible feature of SQL Server. The feature condemns itself.

I saw something in a blog the other day (that I wish I could find it again) where the author essentially said that encrypting stored procedures is an absolute necessity. I couldn’t help but incredulously think “Really? What part of your code is so cunning that I can’t see it?”

Yes, I understand that someone might comment here and say “Well, certain encryption algorithms might need to be encrypted in stored procedures so that people don’t discover and break them.” To which I must respond: grow up. Nobody is writing encryption code in T-SQL. If they are, I don’t want to read it.

The fact is, Mr. ISV, your ideas are not so precious or original. I don’t have a degree in Computer Science, but I do know the basics of algorithms and design patterns. There are only so many ways to skin a particular cat. I can watch the behavior of my SQL Server and figure out just how craptacular your code is and make a pretty educated guess that you’re using cursors written by someone whose understanding of programming concepts stopped when VB was a threat to PowerBuilder.

Please, for all of us, just stop. Your insistence that your secret sauce is important is laughable. Nobody cares. Your competitors don’t care. They’re either too busy catching up or else too busy lighting cigars with hundred dollar bills to care. Nobody that I work with is going to spend their free time reverse engineering your software so we can stop paying maintenance fees – we pay you because paying you is cheaper than doing this work in house.

When you encrypt your stored procedures, I can’t help you make it better. It’s like you only come home drunk, throw microwave burritos at the cat, crap on the rug, and then leave. There’s no possibility for discourse about what you could do better. I don’t want to talk about what you’re doing wrong, I want to make this deal sweet for both of us – I want to make my system faster and help you make your other customers’ systems faster.

Please, for the sake of me and your other customers, stop shitting on my rug.