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Chacham's Journal: Chronicle: Helped interview a candidate yesterday. 12

Journal by Chacham

So, we had an interview. I asked most of the questions. Two things stood out above the rest.

He had stated his knowledge with VB and VB .NET. Simple enough. So i asked him, given a request to take a form of data which includes a due date field, and the requirement to change the color to red when it is prior to today's date, what would be a basic difference in coding between VB 6 and VB .NET. Simple enough?

He began to shake. He started asking about the SQL involved to get the data. I told him the dataset already has it. He said he couldn't put down actual code as he was not in front of a computer. I told him not to worry. He said he could give pseudo-code. I told him it was all-right. He must have been sweating bullets, and i began to regret asking him what i thought was a simple question.

He answered that in VB 6 he could use a Select Case statement on the date, and have the individual cases decide the color like for due date being less than today's date. He mentioned that he could also use an If. Fair enough. Indeed a case would be better given the date comparison has three states. Fine. I asked how the .NET way would change it. He said it'd be the same code, except, perhaps instead of using CDate() in VB where required, Date.Convert or the like could be used.

The "correct" answer, that i would expect, would have been DateA < Now() for VB6, and DateTime.Compare(DateA, DateTime.Today) < 0.

Basically, that the comparison is a method of the date object, as opposed to an overloaded less-than operator. Although, the comment on the convert was something.

So, i asked him for a short description of .NET. He didn't seem to understand. So, i asked him to sell it to my customers, who know nothing about programming. He took that and said he couldn't being .NET was mostly advantages to the developer. Accepting that, i asked him to sell it to me, as a developer, listing a couple differences. He went on to explain that it allows for commonality and new functionality.

Well, he seemed to know how to code in .NET, but i'm pretty sure he hasn't the slightest idea of what .NET is. .NET is a well defined, language independant, object oriented framework. The benefits are less language dependant procedural code, more than one language in a solution, the inclusion of web controls, and more. I couldn't list them all because i don't use .NET that much, but that much i was able to figure out.

I must not be cut out for interviews. I seem to ask the wrong questions.

Well, i finished, and i asked him if he had any questions for us. Nervously, he pulled out a sheet of paper with some questions he had prepared. Very nice. He asked what three things we were looking for to fill this position. My supervisor answer the questions in detail, and at a pause, i added in a "fourth" item. Realizing i needed to calm this guy down, i told him that the position requires the person to like cherry coke and jalapeno Krunchers. He started to smile and explained that he liked jalapeno flavors and spoke for a moment about it, when all of a sudden the comet hit. "KRUNCHERS!" he exclaimed. He went on to tell us that no matter the flavor he liked Krunchers. Well, i guess i hit a home-run with that one.

We were eating the green bag this morning, and the account manager for yesterday's interviewee walked by. Asking how it all went, my supervisor asked him if he liked jalapeno krunchers, he said he'd try one, because he liked krunchers, and then later asked "krunchers?" he think he might get a bag on the way to the office. Methinks the anecdote was already related, but, who knows?

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Chronicle: Helped interview a candidate yesterday.

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  • Man, at one time I could give you twenty things that really sucked about what they did with VB.Net. I spent about 6 months on a project to automagically convert our QB code (procedural driven) into VB6 (event driven). It was an amazingly fun challenge. It was great!

    Then, shortly after that had finished, gone through Q&A, and got released into the general public, MS came out with VB.Net. (Well, .Net in general.) The logic that would be required to convert from VB6 to VB.Net would have been significantl

  • Actually you can just compare the dates directly in VB.NET:

    If DateA < Today Then
        field.ForeColor = Color.Red
    End If
    That works perfectly well.
    • by Chacham (981)
      Actually you can just compare the dates directly in VB.NET:

      That is true, and it is backwards compatible with the old VB way of an overloaded less-than operator. It is not the .NET way--which is completely object oriented--and should use the compare method of the date object, therefore.

      A VB programmer can code in .NET, using the old VB coding style. A .NET programmer, however, is supposed to know .NET. Especially one who says he knows .NET.
      • I've never programmed in VB6, and I'd much rather use the comparison operator. It's shorter, easier to understand and maintain. They added the stronger typing to .NET for a reason. That is a straight date comparison, it doesn't cast the expressions into strings or anything first. Doing everything using two or three method calls just because it's more "object oriented" is not a good reason. Code should be written for human consumption first, since we're the ones who have to keep it working.
        • by Chacham (981)
          I understand what you are saying. And i almost agree.

          There are two points i want to make, however.

          1) The less-than operator is overloaded to work with dates. If date was a string, year would have to be first to compare. Further, not every language will allow this form of overloading.

          Using the object's method, however, does not rely on overloading (which makes it abundantly clear), is cross-language and cross-platform (as long as it supports .NET), and will allow it to be supported even if the date format ch
  • I seem to ask the wrong questions.

    Were you guys looking for someone who can theorize about language design and marketing approaches, or one who can get something done?

    It sounds like it must've been for a Director of Technology position.
    • by Chacham (981)
      Were you guys looking for someone who can theorize about language design and marketing approaches, or one who can get something done?

      Neither. We were looking for a .NET programmer.

      Anyway, i don't make the decisions, but i was brought in to help surmise the candidates technical side. He said he knew VB and VB .NET, so i asked what the difference was. Otherwise, listed .NET as a separate item is superfluous, being VB still works in .NET.
      • by Bill Dog (726542)
        He said he knew VB and VB .NET, so i asked what the difference was. Otherwise, listed .NET as a separate item is superfluous, being VB still works in .NET.

        It sounds like you don't know much about this stuff. I don't either, I did some VB6 for a short while, but haven't touched any .NET stuff. But it's been common knowledge for a long time now that VB.NET is a drastically different language, with a completely different library (such as for forms), than classic VB. I'll bet there's so much to the .NET Framewo
        • by Chacham (981)
          I appreciate your reply.

          I started with VB 3, and i just did a read-only conversion of a project from VB 6 to VB .NET. If what you say is true, i know nothing of VB .NET, for my impression is otherwise. Which may be true, as i never set out to learn it. But, i did find the language to be the same, with OO playing a major role, and a few changes here and there (e.g. forms instantiation).
          • by Bill Dog (726542)
            My first experience with VB goes back to version 3 as well. VB6 was even a lot different. It was reorganized around COM, so while the language itself may not have changed that much with the exception of the addition of Class modules and maybe a few other things, the way the VB community used it was much different, I discovered at my 2nd dot-bomb job.

            Even if the .NET version of the language itself was exactly the same, I think .NET hides COM stuff underneath itself, presenting a new interface to it, has a di
            • by Chacham (981)
              My first experience with VB goes back to version 3 as well. VB6 was even a lot different.

              That was mostly additions. Note, VB 3 fit on a floppy, and was a great basic program. VB 5, with its compilation of the executable, and COM, as you mention, created a VB 6 that supported interfacing with just about everything, and could be used easily. So it included a wider audience, and that would be the major difference.

              Even if the .NET version of the language itself was exactly the same, I think .NET hides COM stuff

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