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@Spindel Spindel/
Last active Feb 22, 2019

What would you like to do?
Interview question model.
import uuid
import random
from afase.models.meta import Base
from sqlalchemy import (
from sqlalchemy.types import (
from sqlalchemy.dialects.postgresql import UUID
from sqlalchemy.orm import (
# Trap, not really part of the code. Make them explain what it does anyhow.
class GUID(TypeDecorator):
"""Platform-independent GUID type.
Uses PostgreSQL's UUID type, otherwise uses
CHAR(32), storing as stringified hex values.
impl = CHAR
# Based on how this class is used below, have them explain why the functions are named as they are.
def load_dialect_impl(self, dialect):
if == 'postgresql':
return dialect.type_descriptor(UUID())
return dialect.type_descriptor(CHAR(32))
def process_bind_param(self, value, dialect):
if value is None:
return value
elif == 'postgresql':
return str(value)
if not isinstance(value, uuid.UUID):
return "%.32x" % uuid.UUID(value).int
# hexstring
return "%.32x" %
def process_result_value(self, value, dialect):
if value is None:
return value
return uuid.UUID(value)
# Trap, they'll skip this, point out that they missed something when they get to "create" function
ALPHABET = '0123456789abcdefghjkmnpqrtvwxyz'
HEXIES = set('abcdef0123456789')
# Trap, this function should not be part of the data model, it should be internal. See if they catch on it.
def gen_word(count):
# Bug, shouldn't re-initialize RNG everytime we need it
r = random.SystemRandom()
word = ''.join(r.choice(ALPHABET) for x in range(count))
return word.capitalize()
class Token(Base):
__tablename__ = 'token'
id = Column(GUID, primary_key=True)
link = Column(Text, nullable=False)
token = Column(String(length=16), nullable=False, unique=True)
device = relationship('Device')
cabinet = relationship('Cabinet')
# Unnecessary, see if they catch why this have an init when the other classes don't.
def __init__(self, id, token, link): = id
self.token = token = link
# Simple, let them explain this
def validate_token(self, key, token):
letters = set(token)
if not ALPHA_SET.issuperset(letters):
raise ValueError("Non permitted letter in token")
return token
# Incomplete, ask them to add more validations
def validate_link(self, key, link):
if not link.startswith('https://'):
raise ValueError("Non https link")
if link[-1] in ('/', '?'):
raise ValueError("Link ends in invalid char")
if link.count("/") != 3:
raise ValueError("Should have 3 and only 3 slashes in link")
return link
def __repr__(self):
return "<Token(id='{}, token='{}', link='{}')>".format(, self.token,
# Make them explain why this code exists. Describe how it will be used.
# All code exists for a reason, sometimes that reason is that a programmer was drunk.
def normalize(cls, token):
replacements = [('o', '0'),
('l', '1'),('i','1'),
('s', '5'),
('u', 'v'),
('-',''),('_',''), (' ', '')]
word = token.lower()
for old, new in replacements:
word = word.replace(old, new)
return word
def create(cls):
id = uuid.uuid4()
# Below line is tricky, make them explain what it does.
base = '-'.join(map(gen_word, [4] * 4))
link = "{}".format(base)
token = cls.normalize(base)
# Note the bug below, ask about subclass of this model.
return Token(id=id, link=link, token=token)
class Site(Base):
__tablename__ = 'site'
id = Column(GUID, primary_key=True)
name = Column(Text, nullable=False)
customer = Column(Text, nullable=False)
contact = Column(Text, nullable=True)
devices = relationship("Device")
cabinets = relationship("Cabinet")
# Leave TODO comments in, ask them to improve.
# TODO: Location(GPS)
# TODO: More contact fields?
class Cabinet(Base):
__tablename__ = 'cabinet'
id = Column(GUID, primary_key=True)
serial = Column(Text, nullable=False)
revision = Column(Text, nullable=False)
token = Column(GUID, ForeignKey(''))
site = Column(GUID, ForeignKey(''))
class Device(Base):
__tablename__ = 'device'
id = Column(GUID, primary_key=True)
boxid = Column(String(length=12), nullable=False)
kind = Column(Text, nullable=False)
token = Column(GUID, ForeignKey(''))
site = Column(GUID, ForeignKey(''), nullable=True)
deploy_date = Column(Date, nullable=True)
retire_date = Column(Date, nullable=True)
def validate_token(self, key, boxid):
if not HEXIES.issuperset(set(boxid)):
raise ValueError("Non hex letter in boxid")
if not len(boxid) == 12:
raise ValueError("Box ID should be 12 long, no more, no less")
return boxid

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Spindel commented Feb 2, 2017



  • Read the code, stop at the comments, and then remove them.
  • Print this out, at comfortable size (pt 11 or 12) with syntax highlighting enabled. ( It's not there to trap, give them comfort.)
  • Make sure they have pen&paper for note taking, and that there are margins to write in.
  • Give them half an hour or so to read the code without anyone present, remove the sense of stress

Phase 2

  • Let them ask questions about the code if they had any. There may be, the questions they ask will tell you how they think.
  • Step through the code with them, let them explain what each class is doing.
  • Let them write the docstrings for each class.
  • Ask them to write out the database tables/schema

Phase 3, Emphazising

  • Ask about the traps (noted in comments)
  • What does gen_word do?
  • Ask what the validate functions do
  • Ask why the normalize function exists.
  • Why is there a create classmethod for Token, but not for others?
  • Why a create and not put that code in __init__

Phase 4, simple coding

  • Adjust the link validation to be better (Hint, the token should match the link )
  • Add repr functions to the classes that miss them

Phase 4, conceptual understanding

  • Explain the work flow of the application based on the data model
  • Ask them which functions are missing from the data model
  • Write a function that uses Token.normalize
  • Write a function that uses Token.create
  • Explain how to add a new device, note the ordering vs. tokens/Sites
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