Hiring guide for Harbour Engineers

Harbour Developer Hiring Guide

Harbour is an open-source programming language, a cross-platform variant of the well-known Clipper language. It was first developed in 1999 by Antonio Linares to overcome limitations of the DOS-based Clipper and to provide a platform-independent solution. The name "Harbour" is inspired by its ability to port applications from one operating system to another with ease. Harbour's source code is hosted on GitHub, demonstrating its commitment to transparency and community involvement. Its robustness, efficiency, and compatibility make it a preferred choice for database-oriented applications. Sources: 1) https://harbour.github.io/ 2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harbour_(software) 3) http://www.fivetechsoft.com/harbour

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

First 20 minutes

General Harbour app knowledge and experience

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

How would you define Harbour programming language?
Harbour is a free, open-source compiler for the xBase superset language often referred to as Clipper. The goal of the Harbour project is to produce a cross-platform compiler that can be used in both desktop and web development.
What are the key features of Harbour programming language?
Some key features of Harbour include portability across multiple operating systems, compatibility with Clipper language, support for multiple databases, and the ability to create GUI and console applications.
Describe the difference between Harbour and xHarbour.
While both Harbour and xHarbour are compilers for the Clipper programming language, there are some differences. xHarbour extends the Clipper language with many new features and functions, while Harbour aims to be largely compatible with Clipper and focuses more on stability and speed.
How would you handle error handling in Harbour?
In Harbour, error handling can be performed using the ErrorBlock() function. This function sets a new error block and returns the current one. When an error occurs, the error block is evaluated with the error object as an argument.
What is the use of the '==' operator in Harbour?
In Harbour, '==' is an exact equality operator. It checks if the values of two operands are equal or not. If the values are equal, then the condition becomes true.
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What you’re looking for early on

Does the candidate have a strong understanding of Harbour programming language?
Has the candidate demonstrated problem-solving skills?
Can the candidate work effectively in a team?
Does the candidate show a willingness to learn and adapt?

Next 20 minutes

Specific Harbour 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.

Describe how you would implement file handling in Harbour.
File handling in Harbour can be done using various built-in functions such as FOpen() to open a file, FRead() to read from a file, FWrite() to write to a file, and FClose() to close a file.
What is the purpose of the HB_OutStd() function in Harbour?
The HB_OutStd() function in Harbour is used to output a string to the standard output device.
How would you implement multithreading in Harbour?
Harbour natively does not support multithreading. However, it can be achieved by integrating with other languages such as C or C++, which do support multithreading.
Describe the difference between the '==' and ':=' operators in Harbour.
In Harbour, '==' is an exact equality operator used for comparison, while ':=' is an assignment operator used to assign the value of right operand to the left operand.
What is the purpose of the HB_Inkey() function in Harbour?
The HB_Inkey() function in Harbour is used to check whether a key has been pressed and to get the key code of the last key pressed.
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The ideal back-end app developer

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

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

What does the following simple Harbour code do?
   ? 'Hello, World!'
This code defines the main procedure of a Harbour program and prints 'Hello, World!' to the console.
What will be the output of the following Harbour code?
   LOCAL nValue := 5
   ? nValue
The output of this code will be '5'. The code declares a local variable 'nValue' and assigns it the value 5, then it prints the value of 'nValue' to the console.
What does the following Harbour code do?
   LOCAL aArray := {1, 2, 3, 4, 5}
   ? aArray
This code declares a local array 'aArray' with five elements and then prints the array to the console.
What does the following Harbour code do?
      ? 'This is a test.'
      ? oError:Description
This code defines a sequence block that prints 'This is a test.' to the console. If any error occurs within the sequence block, the code in the RECOVER block is executed. In this case, it will print the description of the error to the console.

Wrap-up questions

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

How would you use the HB_ValToExp() function in Harbour?
The HB_ValToExp() function in Harbour is used to convert a value to a string expression. It can be useful for debugging purposes.
What is the purpose of the HB_PCount() function in Harbour?
The HB_PCount() function in Harbour is used to get the count of parameters that have been passed to a procedure or function.
Describe the difference between the HB_DtoC() and HB_CtoD() functions in Harbour.
In Harbour, HB_DtoC() is used to convert a date value to a string, while HB_CtoD() is used to convert a string to a date value.

Harbour application related

Product Perfect's Harbour development capabilities

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