Don’t Fight Your Platform

One of my favorite interview questions is from Steve Yegge. Ask the candidate to explain how they would change the format of phone numbers in thousands of files.

It’s a question that screams, “Use Perl” or “Use Unix”, but you’d be surprised just how few people get it right.

The C#/Java’s developer answer is to write a program that reads in a program line by line, and parses out each string using built in string manipulation.  The smarter C#/Java developers even say to do that, but use a Regular Expression instead of built in string manipulation.

That’s all well and good, but it misses the point of the exercise: Don’t fight your platform, Use the right tool for the right job.



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