I always used to be skeptical of giving job candidates a take-home code test. The reason was that the assignment needed to be simple -- no in-demand developer would spend more than a few hours on it -- and even the most incompetent developer could surely throw together an elegant solution if he put enough hours into it. But leave it to Nikolay Simeonov(*) to show me the way. Following are some examples (warning: Delphi ahead) that job candidates turned after several days of working on a simple take-home assignment ...

One candidate demonstrating familiarity with code reuse of the copy/paste variety ...

procedure Tfrmobr.Edopolm3KeyPress(Sender: TObject; var Key: Char);
begin
if not (key in [#8,#44,#48..#57]) then key:=#0;
if key=#46 then Key:=#44;
if key=#44 then
   if pos(key,edopolm3.text)<>0 then key:=#0;
end;

procedure Tfrmobr.Edopolm4KeyPress(Sender: TObject; var Key: Char);
begin
if not (key in [#8,#44,#48..#57]) then key:=#0;
if key=#46 then Key:=#44;
if key=#44 then
   if pos(key,edopolm3.text)<>0 then key:=#0;
end;

... snip ...

procedure Tfrmobr.Edopolm23KeyPress(Sender: TObject; var Key: Char);
begin
if not (key in [#8,#44,#48..#57]) then key:=#0;
if key=#46 then Key:=#44;
if key=#44 then
   if pos(key,edopolm3.text)<>0 then key:=#0;
end;

Another candidate who apparently never figured out what the equivalent of "dotting the i's and crossing the t's" is ...

panel20.visible:=false;
panel19.Visible:=true;
panel12.Visible:=false;
panel11.Visible:=false;
BUTTON1.Visible:=FALSE;
panel10.Visible:=false;
panel9.Visible:=false;
panel8.Visible:=false;
panel7.Visible:=true;
panel6.Visible:=false;
panel4.Visible:=false;
panel5.Visible:=false;

Nikolay was trying to figure why one candidate turned in only this code file, when the assignment was a small app that demonstrated database connectivity in Delphi ...

/*
** hellowin.csx (C#) - example: axwscript hellowin.csx
** Demonstrates the use of Windows Forms to display a messagebox
**
** See also hello.csx
*/

And finally, another candidate demonstrating her extensive knowledge of the For-Case Paradigm ...

procedure TSelFrm.FormClose(Sender: TObject; var Action: TCloseAction);
var i:byte; b:boolean;
begin
  if selection then begin
    for i:=1 to 13 do begin
      if s1[i] then case i of
        1,2,3,4,5,8,9,10,11:s1[i]:=s2[i]>0;
        6:begin s2[i]:=strtoint(edit6.text);
            s1[i]:=s2[i]>0; end;
        7:begin s2[i]:=strtoint(edit7.text);
            s1[i]:=(s2[i]>0)and(s2[12]>0); end;
        12:begin  s3[1]:=edit12.text;
             s1[i]:=length(s3[1])>0; end;
        13:begin  s3[2]:=edit13.text;
             s1[i]:=length(s3[2])>0; end;
      end;
    end;
    b:=false;
    for i:=1 to 13 do b:=b or s1[i];
    selection:=b;
  end;
  savef(selfrm);
end;

 

(*) Some fun past submissions from Nikolay:
- The Hotel (reservation system) From Hell (Part II)
- The Meteorological Station In Hell
- Loonily Coupled