Hiring guide for JALv2 Engineers

JALv2 Developer Hiring Guide

JALv2 is a high-level programming language designed for PIC microcontrollers, developed by Wouter van Ooijen and Kyle York. Introduced in the early 2000s, it's an enhanced version of JAL (Just Another Language), specifically tailored for embedded systems. The open-source platform offers user-friendly syntax similar to Pascal or Ada while providing direct access to hardware components. Its compiler, JALv2 Compiler, was released under the zlib/libpng license and is available on SourceForge. This niche language has been praised within its domain for its simplicity and efficiency in managing microcontroller functions.

Ask the right questions secure the right JALv2 talent among an increasingly shrinking pool of talent.

First 20 minutes

General JALv2 app knowledge and experience

The first 20 minutes of the interview should seek to understand the candidate's general background in JALv2 application development, including their experience with various programming languages, databases, and their approach to designing scalable and maintainable systems.

How would you define the JALv2 programming language?
JALv2 is a high-level language for PIC microcontrollers, offering a Pascal-like syntax and a built-in library of functions for common tasks.
What are the main features of JALv2?
JALv2 offers features such as easy to use syntax, built-in functions, hardware abstraction, and excellent error checking.
Describe the difference between JALv2 and other PIC programming languages.
Unlike other PIC programming languages, JALv2 offers a high level of abstraction and a syntax similar to Pascal, making it easier to learn and use for beginners.
How would you handle errors in JALv2?
JALv2 has excellent error checking. It can catch many common errors at compile-time, and it also supports runtime error checking.
What are some limitations of JALv2?
Being a high-level language, JALv2 may not offer the same level of control over the hardware as assembly or C. Also, its error messages can sometimes be cryptic.
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What you’re looking for early on

Does the candidate have a strong understanding of JALv2 programming language?
Can the candidate demonstrate problem-solving skills?
Has the candidate worked on relevant projects?
Is the candidate able to communicate effectively?

Next 20 minutes

Specific JALv2 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 to use the built-in functions in JALv2.
Built-in functions in JALv2 can be used by simply calling them in your code. For example, to set a pin to output, you could use the 'pin_direction_output' function.
How would you handle memory management in JALv2?
JALv2 handles most of the memory management automatically. However, you can also manually allocate and free memory using the 'new' and 'dispose' keywords.
What are some best practices when programming in JALv2?
Some best practices in JALv2 include using meaningful variable names, commenting your code, handling errors properly, and making use of the built-in functions.
Describe the difference between compile-time and runtime error checking in JALv2.
Compile-time error checking happens when the code is compiled, catching errors like syntax mistakes. Runtime error checking happens while the program is running, catching errors like division by zero.
How would you use JALv2 to program a PIC microcontroller to perform a specific task?
First, I would define the task and break it down into smaller steps. Then I would write JALv2 code for each step, using the appropriate built-in functions and libraries.
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The ideal back-end app developer

What you’re looking to see on the JALv2 engineer at this point.

At this point, a skilled JALv2 engineer should demonstrate strong problem-solving abilities, proficiency in JALv2 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 JALv2.

What does the following JALv2 code do?
movf PORTB,W
This code moves the contents of the PORTB register into the Working register.
What will be the output of the following JALv2 code?
movlw 0x0F
andwf PORTB,F
This code will perform a bitwise AND operation between the value in the Working register (0x0F) and the contents of the PORTB register. The result will be stored back in the PORTB register.
What does the following JALv2 code do?
bsf PORTB,0
This code sets the 0th bit of the PORTB register to 1.
What does the following JALv2 code do?
btfss PORTB,0
goto $+2
This code checks the 0th bit of the PORTB register. If it's set (1), the code continues with the next instruction. If it's not set (0), it jumps two instructions ahead.

Wrap-up questions

Final candidate for JALv2 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 JALv2 application deployments. Inquire about their experience in handling system failures and their approach to debugging and troubleshooting.

What are some advanced features of JALv2?
Some advanced features of JALv2 include support for object-oriented programming, inline assembly, and the ability to call C functions.
Describe how to use inline assembly in JALv2.
Inline assembly in JALv2 can be used by enclosing the assembly code in 'asm' and 'end asm' keywords. This allows you to write assembly code directly in your JALv2 program.
How would you optimize a JALv2 program for performance?
To optimize a JALv2 program, I would first profile it to find the bottlenecks. Then I would optimize the slow parts, possibly by rewriting them in assembly or C.

JALv2 application related

Product Perfect's JALv2 development capabilities

Beyond hiring for your JALv2 engineering team, you may be in the market for additional help. Product Perfect provides seasoned expertise in JALv2 projects, and can engage in multiple capacities.