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These days, an enterprise developer works on multiple source files
The xml itself can/will contain different grammars depending upon the payload (config, build, content, rules, etc). So, when someone interviews for a position, it is nice to give them a lot of code (say an eclipse/netbeans/idea project) and ask them to add a new feature to the code.
It’s NOT only important to know that the developer understands how to read existing code (like say quicksort/bubblesort/stringReverse) BUT also, how to add new code to existing code(http://tickletux.wordpress.com/2007/01/24/using-fizzbuzz-to-find-developers-who-grok-coding/). If a person can cross that chasm, then such a person can go to the next stage of interviewing.
It’s important to let the interviewee(candidate) do this for all the artifacts that they are expected to create/USE(java/xml, SQL etc). It’s also good to have some sample code available for them so that they can do copy/paste. This is so that the candidate does not fail just on syntax.
If, as Joel says, it takes smarts + “getting things done” attitude to succeed at his company, the above exercise should take care of “GETTING THINGS DONE”. I guess the puzzles and related questions go a long way at testing a person’s smarts ?
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