Hiring guide for Alef Engineers

Alef Developer Hiring Guide

The Alef programming language was developed in the late 1980s at Bell Labs for use in Plan 9 from Bell Labs, an experimental operating system. It was designed by Phil Winterbottom, with Rob Pike serving as a major contributor (Pike and Winterbottom, "The Design of the Inferno Virtual Machine", 1997). Alef is concurrent like Go but has a thread model more similar to that of Java or C# ("A Descent into Limbo", Brian Kernighan). However, due to its complexity and lack of portability outside Plan 9 environment, it was eventually replaced by C (Pike et al., "Plan 9 from User Space"). Today, it serves primarily as an interesting piece of computer science history.

Ask the right questions secure the right Alef talent among an increasingly shrinking pool of talent.

First 20 minutes

General Alef app knowledge and experience

The first 20 minutes of the interview should seek to understand the candidate's general background in Alef application development, including their experience with various programming languages, databases, and their approach to designing scalable and maintainable systems.

What are the basic data types in Alef?
The basic data types in Alef are integers, floating-point numbers, strings, and booleans.
How would you declare a variable in Alef?
In Alef, you declare a variable using the 'var' keyword, followed by the variable name and its value. For example, 'var x = 10;' declares a variable named x with the value of 10.
What is the scope of a variable in Alef?
In Alef, variables can have either global or local scope. Global variables are accessible from any part of the code, while local variables are only accessible within the function or block they are declared.
How would you define a function in Alef?
In Alef, functions are defined using the 'fn' keyword, followed by the function name, parameters in parentheses, and the function body in curly braces. For example, 'fn add(x, y) { return x + y; }' defines a function named add that takes two parameters and returns their sum.
Describe the difference between a method and a function in Alef.
In Alef, a function is a standalone entity that can take input, process it, and return output. A method, on the other hand, is a function that is associated with an object and can access and modify the object's properties.
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What you’re looking for early on

Does the candidate have a solid understanding of Alef?
Has the candidate demonstrated problem-solving skills?
Is the candidate able to communicate effectively?
Does the candidate show a willingness to learn and adapt?

Next 20 minutes

Specific Alef development questions

The next 20 minutes of the interview should focus on the candidate's expertise with specific backend frameworks, their understanding of RESTful APIs, and their experience in handling data storage and retrieval efficiently.

What are the control flow structures in Alef?
Alef supports several control flow structures, including 'if' statements, 'for' and 'while' loops, and 'switch' statements.
How would you handle exceptions in Alef?
In Alef, exceptions are handled using 'try'/'catch' blocks. The 'try' block contains the code that might throw an exception, and the 'catch' block contains the code to execute if an exception is thrown.
What is the purpose of the 'this' keyword in Alef?
In Alef, the 'this' keyword is used inside a method to refer to the object on which the method was called.
How would you create a class in Alef?
In Alef, a class is created using the 'class' keyword, followed by the class name and the class body in curly braces. The class body can contain properties and methods.
What is the difference between '==' and '===' in Alef?
In Alef, '==' checks for equality of values, while '===' checks for equality of both values and types.
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The ideal back-end app developer

What you’re looking to see on the Alef engineer at this point.

At this point, a skilled Alef engineer should demonstrate strong problem-solving abilities, proficiency in Alef programming language, and knowledge of software development methodologies. Red flags include lack of hands-on experience, inability to articulate complex concepts, or unfamiliarity with standard coding practices.

Digging deeper

Code questions

These will help you see the candidate's real-world development capabilities with Alef.

What does the following simple Alef code do?
fn main() {
	println("Hello, World!");
This code prints the string 'Hello, World!' to the standard output.
What will be the output of the following Alef code?
fn main() {
	var x = 10;
	var y = 20;
The output will be '30'. This code declares two variables 'x' and 'y', assigns them the values 10 and 20 respectively, and then prints their sum.
What does the following Alef code do?
fn main() {
	var arr = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5];
	for i in arr {
This code prints each number in the array 'arr' on a new line. The 'for' loop iterates over each element in the array.
What does the following Alef code do related to threading?
fn main() {
	thread t1 = new thread(fn() {
		println("Hello from thread 1");
This code creates a new thread 't1' and starts it. The thread prints 'Hello from thread 1' when it runs.

Wrap-up questions

Final candidate for Alef Developer role questions

The final few questions should evaluate the candidate's teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills. Additionally, assess their knowledge of microservices architecture, serverless computing, and how they handle Alef application deployments. Inquire about their experience in handling system failures and their approach to debugging and troubleshooting.

How would you import a module in Alef?
In Alef, a module is imported using the 'import' keyword, followed by the module name. For example, 'import math;' imports the math module.
What are promises in Alef and how would you use them?
Promises in Alef are objects that represent the eventual completion or failure of an asynchronous operation. They are used to handle asynchronous operations in a more flexible and composable way than callbacks.
How would you create and use a generator in Alef?
In Alef, a generator is a special kind of function that can be paused and resumed. It is created using the 'function*' syntax, and used with the 'yield' keyword to pause execution and with the 'next' method to resume it.

Alef application related

Product Perfect's Alef development capabilities

Beyond hiring for your Alef engineering team, you may be in the market for additional help. Product Perfect provides seasoned expertise in Alef projects, and can engage in multiple capacities.