web developer job application- don't understand a question

#1
Hello,
I am finishing my first year of working throug my school's CS program- I know some C/C++, C#, basic OOP concepts, good problem solving skills etc. However I have no practical experience. I am applying for a web application developer job with the company that provides web/networking services for the school, as they are known for hiring students such as myself & providing excellent training & good experience. I would be doing a lot of CGI programming, php scripting, etc. which I also have no experience with. Anyways, I don't really understand one of the questions on the application...

What process would you take to understand what "m/^s*$/" returns?

Is "m/^s*$/" supposed to be a function? In which case I suppose I would just look at the code & figure out what it was returning....
Or is this refering to something else that I am missing entirely?

I'm not looking for someone to provide an answer for me, I would just rather not make an ass of myself if I can help it =P

thanks
 

Mainframeguy

Debiant by way of Ubuntu
#2
is this a wildcard sort of question? IE are they asking you to explain that you understand this would search through the processes and return all those beginning with m, containing an s and ending in $ maybe?

Perhaps someone else can comment if that makes sense and if I got my wildcard/delimiters right... is this being asked in the context of any particular syntax? EG php?
 
#3
I guess it could be about wildcards... although the form of the question "what process would you take to understand ..." doesnt sound like they expect you to know what it would return without some sort of research or something.

No context at all was given. The instructions for applying were to send a bunch of info they requested about you, along with answers to a few questions. Most of the questions were things like, "What coding projects have you worked on in the past?" and "Describe your experience working with a team." Then this one was stuck in the middle of them. I was hoping someone with experience with php/mysql/cgi programming stuff might know what they were asking about.... but maybe not...
 

X-Istence

*
Political User
#5
Mainframeguy said:
is this a wildcard sort of question? IE are they asking you to explain that you understand this would search through the processes and return all those beginning with m, containing an s and ending in $ maybe?

Perhaps someone else can comment if that makes sense and if I got my wildcard/delimiters right... is this being asked in the context of any particular syntax? EG php?
You have part of it messed up, when it comes to most programs that are doing regular expressions (sed, vi, and others) the first thing that comes in is the function, so for example, for search:

g

Then comes the regular expression

re

Which equals to this:

g/re/

Now, lets say we want the functionality of grep in vi, or some other program, we can use the following syntax:

command/re/todowithfound

So we get:

g/re/p (p = print each line found) (This is where grep get's its name from :p)

In this case, the m command does not mean anything in any program I have looked at: sed, awk, vi.

The regular expression itself is asking for:

Any string of text, which sends with an "s" and ends with any wild character, more than one allowed, so any string beginning with s is valid.

Since this is a web development assignment, this absolutely has to do with one of the most used web developing languages available. Now, you have already mentioned the following:

PHP, which it is not, and CGI, which it could be. CGI (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Gateway_Interface) stands for Common Gateway Interface, it is a way of letting programs talk to the server in a common way. Now, there are millions of programming languages that could be used, find out which is most popular to use, and you will find out what the m/ command does in that programming language.

Since your Application is due by april 17th, according to this: https://depts.restek.wwu.edu/surveys/web-application-developer-spring-2006-search I will be posting the result on April the 18th.

I'd have to say it is an interesting question, since it led me on a trial to search for it as well, when I finally came to the fact that this is for web development, and sed/vi have nothing to do with it.

Good luck on your search, and let us know if you find out what it is!
 

LeeJend

OSNN Veteran Addict
#6
Sigh, X-istance you just gave Ruiner the answer.

They did not ask him to go research and solve it, they asked him how he would approach the problem. They are trying to determine if he understands how to take the knowledge he has and apply it to a new, unknown situtation.

This ability is the difference between a coder (ape regurgitating memorized lines of code to draw a line or solve an equation) and a developer (someone determining how to select the best language or tools to apply to a new situtation that isn't covered in "Development for Dummies").

This kind of question is the differentitator on candidate selection. Given a dozen candidates who understand how to code a given language the guy with the best answer to this question will get the job.

PS Giving an approach to solving the problem as opposed to an actual answer may get you a higher score than the answer. Hint - When a manager asks how a mousetrap works he doesn't want a blueprint, material fatigue analysis, and a prototype with a dead mouse in it sitting on his desk in 6 weeks. These types of questions do not always even have an answer. Sometimes they pick phony command sequences as part of the test.

PPS A perfectly acceptable answer (though not the best would be). I do not recognize the syntax and commands in the question so I will perform multiple websearchs for this command structure and contact my CS piers to see if they are familiar with it. (Ruiner did part 2.)
 
Last edited:

X-Istence

*
Political User
#7
Fecking hell, third time writing this, LeeJend, I have removed my answer until the 18th, I misunderstood the question.

Ruiner has not been here since this morning, so all should still be good. Anyways, ways to find out what that returns would require at least a hint to what programming language is required. Otherwise it would need to specify the fact that this certain programming language is required before applying, in which case he should know what that specific re means.
 
#8
JeeJend: Thank you, that was exactly what I needed- I wasn't sure if they actually wanted the answer or if they wanted to test knowledge of a specific language or environment (hence my confusion since, as X-Istence pointed out, I would need more specifics.) I take it from your response that this is a fairly common category of interview question? This is the first time I have applied for a cs related job. If nothing else, I suppose it will be good practice =P
 

X-Istence

*
Political User
#9
Posted my reply, as you know what you were supposed to do.

It is actually Perl, and it is a way to check if a regular expression will match a certain string, this one will only match if the string starts with an s.

Good luck with it.
 

X-Istence

*
Political User
#11
LordOfLA said:
Really? I thought the ^ operator meant not having the following character?

Only if it is done like this:

[^s]

Otherwise it means the start of a string, since the [] opens a character class, and a ^ at the beginning negates the character set, which means [a-zA-Z] means match anything as long as it is from a-z or from A-Z, [^a-zA-Z] means anything that does not match a-z or A-Z.

^ = beginning of string
$ = end of string

RE is magic :p
 
#13
X-Istence said:
Only if it is done like this:

[^s]

Otherwise it means the start of a string, since the [] opens a character class, and a ^ at the beginning negates the character set, which means [a-zA-Z] means match anything as long as it is from a-z or from A-Z, [^a-zA-Z] means anything that does not match a-z or A-Z.

^ = beginning of string
$ = end of string

RE is magic :p
ah yeah I remember now :nervous:
 

LeeJend

OSNN Veteran Addict
#14
Note - Lord and Xistence just failed the job interview. Not only did they give a detail technical response to the "how would you approach it question", but they committed the ultimate sin.

They showed more technical knowledge than the person interviewing them. The interviewer's job security is now threatened and he will can their applications. ;)
 

X-Istence

*
Political User
#15
LeeJend said:
Note - Lord and Xistence just failed the job interview. Not only did they give a detail technical response to the "how would you approach it question", but they committed the ultimate sin.

They showed more technical knowledge than the person interviewing them. The interviewer's job security is now threatened and he will can their applications. ;)
Yeah, have killed a job interview like this before :p
 

Geffy

OSNN Veteran Addict
#16
yeah, X-Istence holds the truth.

the regex is a perl one. It uses m at the beginning to designate a matching expression, you can also use s and other things like it

to learn about regular expressions look at

http://www.regular-expressions.info/


@LeeJend: Its a thin line between showing someone you know/understand something and showing that you know/understand something more than them ;)
 

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