[JOB] Perl Software Developer and Database programmer

Simon Wistow simon at thegestalt.org
Wed Feb 22 12:33:38 GMT 2006

On Wed, Feb 22, 2006 at 11:52:44AM +0000, Peter Corlett said:
> Knowing the difference between local and my is kind of important. I'd say
> that somebody who didn't know this basic stuff was not competent.

That's a hugely sweeping statement - as was pointed out some people may 
just never have come across local() but may know way more about, say, 
Formats than you. Or XS. Or regexen. 

I think part of the problem is that there's only only so much you can 
actually learn. What's more improtant to me is not mastery of compiler 
internals but the ability to pick new concepts up quickly and also the 
ability to know where to look stuff up.

Even if I didn't now what the difference is was I *do* know how to do

% perldoc -q local

which gives

  Found in /usr/local/perl580/lib/5.8.0/pod/perlfaq7.pod
       What's the difference between dynamic and lexical (static) 
       scoping? Between local() and my()?

but by using my knowledge of perldoc -q I also know the answer to how to 
parse HTML

  Found in /usr/local/perl580/lib/5.8.0/pod/perlfaq9.pod
        How do I remove HTML from a string?

Let's face it - most langauges within the same paradigm are almost 
exactly the same. Sure there's some syntatic sugar but the ability to 
program in the abstract and how to look up this particular brand of 
syntatic is far more important in general. And then on top of that you 
have what environment you're programming in - doing Web stuff in C is 
very different to doing, say, Embedded Mobile devices in C or graphics 
hacking stuff in C.

Having said that I've given a programming test that included the 
difference between my() and local(), HTML parsing but also Templated 
linked list creation in C++, reversing the order of some words in a 
string in C and the difference between GET and POST.

The test was emailed to the candidates and the could return it at their 
lesiure. What I was looking for wasn't necessarily instant recall but 
more the ability to reason and lookup. One candidate failed because he 
came up witha  hideously complicated regex to strip the text from HTML. 
Far more complicated than I could write. Everytime in the interview when 
I pressed him for problems he would think of one and adapt the regex to 
deal with it. All very clever. He didn't get the job.

Conversely, I once got asked what

	a = a++

or something similar would do  in C - my C-fu wasn't stellar at the time 
but it was sufficient that recognised there could be a problem (IIRC 
it's an undefined behaviour - I'm a bit fuzzy at the moment, mild 


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