Hiring guide for AmbientTalk Engineers

AmbientTalk Developer Hiring Guide

AmbientTalk is an experimental object-oriented distributed programming language developed by the Software Languages Lab at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium. It was specifically designed for mobile networks and aims to deal with network volatility associated with disconnections and reconnections. The language's design draws on lessons learned from earlier languages like E, Lua, Python, and Smalltalk. AmbientTalk emphasizes event-driven programming and shares similarities with JavaScript in its concurrency model. Its unique features include first-class closures, dynamic typing, actor-style concurrency model (inspired by E), asynchronous message passing (inspired by Erlang), among others.

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

First 20 minutes

General AmbientTalk app knowledge and experience

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

How would you define AmbientTalk?
AmbientTalk is an experimental object-oriented distributed programming language primarily targeted at writing programs deployed in mobile ad hoc networks.
What are the key features of AmbientTalk?
Key features of AmbientTalk include: distributed object-oriented programming, event-driven programming, service discovery, asynchronous communication, and support for mobile and ad hoc networks.
Describe the difference between AmbientTalk and Java.
While both are object-oriented languages, AmbientTalk is designed for distributed mobile systems and supports asynchronous communication and service discovery. Java, on the other hand, is a general-purpose language and does not have built-in support for these features.
How would you handle exceptions in AmbientTalk?
In AmbientTalk, exceptions are handled using the 'whenever:discovered' and 'whenever:connected' constructs. These allow the developer to specify how to handle exceptions when they occur.
What are the main constructs of AmbientTalk?
The main constructs of AmbientTalk are objects, types, messages, and closures. Objects are instances of types, messages are sent to objects, and closures are blocks of code that can be executed.
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What you’re looking for early on

Does the candidate have a strong understanding of the AmbientTalk language?
Has the candidate demonstrated problem-solving skills?
Is the candidate familiar with concurrent and distributed programming?
Has the candidate shown the ability to work well in a team?

Next 20 minutes

Specific AmbientTalk 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.

How would you implement concurrency in AmbientTalk?
AmbientTalk supports concurrency through its event-loop concurrency model. Each object has its own event loop and processes messages one at a time, ensuring that no two messages are processed simultaneously.
Describe the difference between synchronous and asynchronous communication in AmbientTalk.
In synchronous communication, the sender waits for the receiver to process the message before continuing. In asynchronous communication, the sender does not wait and can continue with other tasks.
What are the advantages of using AmbientTalk for developing distributed mobile applications?
AmbientTalk provides built-in support for distributed programming, service discovery, and asynchronous communication, making it easier to develop applications for mobile ad hoc networks.
How would you implement service discovery in AmbientTalk?
Service discovery in AmbientTalk is implemented using the 'whenever:discovered' and 'whenever:connected' constructs. These allow the application to discover and connect to services as they become available.
Describe the difference between AmbientTalk and JavaScript.
While both are event-driven languages, AmbientTalk is designed for distributed mobile systems and supports service discovery and asynchronous communication. JavaScript is a general-purpose language primarily used for web development.
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The ideal back-end app developer

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

At this point, a skilled AmbientTalk engineer should demonstrate strong problem-solving abilities, proficiency in AmbientTalk 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 AmbientTalk.

What does this AmbientTalk code do?
def greet := { |name| system.println("Hello, " + name + "!") }
This code defines a function named 'greet' that takes one argument 'name'. It then prints out a greeting message to the console, concatenating the string 'Hello, ' with the provided name and a punctuation mark.
What will be the output of the following AmbientTalk code?
def numbers := [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]; numbers.each: { |n| system.println(n) }
This code will print each number in the 'numbers' list to the console. The output will be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, each on a new line.
What does the following AmbientTalk code do?
def numbers := [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]; def sum := numbers.fold: 0 using: { |acc, n| acc + n }; system.println(sum)
This code calculates the sum of all numbers in the 'numbers' list and prints it to the console. The 'fold' method is used to accumulate the sum.
What does the following AmbientTalk code do?
def thread := actor: { | | while: { | | true } do: { | | system.println("Running...") } }; thread<-start
This code creates a new actor (thread) that continuously prints 'Running...' to the console. The 'start' message is sent to the actor to start its execution.

Wrap-up questions

Final candidate for AmbientTalk 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 AmbientTalk application deployments. Inquire about their experience in handling system failures and their approach to debugging and troubleshooting.

How would you handle network disconnections in AmbientTalk?
AmbientTalk provides the 'whenever:disconnected' construct to handle network disconnections. This allows the application to specify how to handle disconnections when they occur.
What are the limitations of AmbientTalk?
Limitations of AmbientTalk include its experimental status, lack of support for static typing, and the fact that it is not as widely used or known as other languages.
How would you test an AmbientTalk application?
Testing an AmbientTalk application would involve writing test cases to verify the functionality of the application, as well as testing the application in different network conditions to ensure it can handle disconnections and service discovery.

AmbientTalk application related

Product Perfect's AmbientTalk development capabilities

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